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Obesity Rates Rising in the UK
Obesity is a huge problem facing the world today and it is becoming even more of an issue. Over the past few years, obesity rates in the UK have rocketed to the highest in Europe with an estimated 20% of the UK population suffering form the disease.
For those that obesity directly affects, it is very difficult to forget the severe health consequences. The increased risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes are ones that we are reminded of on a daily basis. Despite this, the rate of growth for the number of cases of obesity have not slowed down.
The national average for both men and women shows 40% of the population being overweight and more than 20% being dangerously obese. These numbers vary slightly for both sexes but women show more of a trend of being obese than men whereas men tend to have a higher average being overweight. Although both are similar, the difference between obesity and being overweight comes down to Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese and overweight is defined by a BMI of 25-29.9.
The general population know that being overweight is bad for your health and we are all urged to live more active lifestyles whilst eating fewer saturated fats and sugary foods. This knowledge is not being passed down to the younger population of the country fast enough. This is shown by a study performed in 2014/15 which shows that 19.1% of children aged 10-11 were obese and a further 14.2% were overweight. The worry is that bad eating habits formed at an early age tend to develop into worse habits in later years, a dangerous trend that is showing no hint of slowing down. Thanks to this, experts suggest that by 2030 around 50% of the UK will be obese.
What can we do?
It is generally widely known that obesity is typically caused by consuming more calories than you burn off through physical activity. This excess energy is stored by the body as fat which can quickly build up if activity rates stay low. Knowing this, the solution looks simple… Be more active and eat less junk. It is suggested that physical activity (tennis, swimming, jogging etc) of around 2.5 – 5 hours a week will help decrease chances of becoming obese.
It is also a good idea to not eat as many calories per day. Unless you are on a strict diet, it is very easy to over indulge so if you are worried about your calorie intake, make a habit of noting down how many calories you eat per day and compare that to the national recommended intake:
- Men – 2,500 kcal
- Women – 2,000 kcal
Tackling issues of being overweight early are essential. If you are worried or have not exercised in a while check out something like the NHS Couch to 5k plan which, through incremental training, helps to improve your health and lift your activity levels.