Sixty per cent of British men could be clinically obese by 2050 if our propensity for high calorie, low activity lifestyles is not addressed head on.
This is the claim made today by Foresight, a UK government backed think tank which is addressing the problem of an increasingly overweight British population.
And Foresight's report, Tackling Obesities: Future Choices has attracted responses from two of the country's leading cycling advocacy bodies, Sustrans and the CTC, both of which suggest that riding a bike is one of the simplest ways to reverse the worrying trends detailed in the document.
"The Foresight report has added its weight to the bloated library of evidence of the role of cycling in tackling the twin crises of climate change and obesity," said Campaigns and Policy Manager of the CTC, Roger Geffen. "It is no longer enough for the Department for Health to tell us all to munch apples while other Departments force us into sedentary, car-dominated lifestyles.
"With the Department for Health and Department for Transport working out their spending plans for the next three years, it's the perfect time to see a radical increase in funding for cycling," he added.
Philip Insall, Director of Sustrans' Active Travel Programme takes an almost identical line. "The Foresight report echoes the call we have been making for the last thirty years," he said. "As government faces up to the twin threats of climate change and obesity, it is crystal clear that our historic transport policies are no longer valid, and we have to shift our investment priorities to walking and cycling to make these a viable option that is available to all."
Among other findings report highlights the 'fear factor' which currently inhibits many Britons from taking to their bikes: "Where pedestrians and cyclists have little fear of collision or injury to themselves and their children, they are found to be more active," it says.
But is fear of being knocked off your bike the factor which most inhibits you and those around you from making more cycle journeys?Have your say below or on our Forum.