Obesity has become a growing problem in the UK. But National Obesity Awareness Week aims to remind us all the difficulties we face if we become overweight or obese, how to prevent it and how we can change it.
This year National Obesity Awareness Week falls between the 13th and 20th January 2021. The week will raise awareness as well as highlight how obesity affects health and the steps, we can take to lower our risk.
What is obesity?
Obese is a term used to describe someone who is very overweight. As a result, they will usually have a lot of body fat and affects around 25% of adults in the UK and 1/5 of children. Obesity is classed as a medical condition and is often measured using body mass index (BMI).
Obesity is associated with further health complications and risks, including:
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Digestive issues
What is BMI?
Body Mass Index is a value calculated from an individual’s height and weight to determine whether an individual’s weight is healthy. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared.
An ideal BMI range for most adults is between 18.5 and 24.9. The obese range is between 30 and 39.9. You can calculate your own BMI using the calculators online such as the NHS BMI Healthy Weight Calculator.
What causes obesity?
There are several factors that can cause obesity. Most of them are associated with your lifestyle which means obesity can be prevented or reversed.
It’s often caused by eating more calories than you burn off through physical exercise. So, the excess energy that you eat is stored as fat. Modern lifestyles are contributing to the increasing rates of obesity (and waistlines) because many people eat too much cheap high calorie foods and spend a lot of time sitting at desks, watching TV, or driving.
There are, however, some medical conditions which also increase the risk of becoming obese such as an underactive thyroid or genetic conditions. Stress can also be another contributor to weight gain and obesity, particularly because many people choose to eat high calorie foods when in stressful situations.
How to prevent obesity
The best way to treat or prevent obesity is to eat a healthy balanced diet and take regular exercise. You can do this by:
- Eating a balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains, and limiting saturated fat and sugar intake.
- Taking part in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. You don’t need to spend lots of money on fancy equipment or gym memberships, walking, jogging, swimming, or playing tennis are good examples of activities to try.
- If you’re already overweight, try joining a weight loss group.
- Slow down when you eat so you’re not tempted to eat more than you need.
Although it can be daunting if you need to lose weight, it is also rewarding. Not only will your health benefit from shedding the pounds but so will your confidence and self-esteem. However, there is no quick fix, and it will take commitment and hard work to reach your goals. Even losing small amounts of weight can have major benefits for your health and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease.
There are plenty of resources available to help and give you advice. If you’re not sure where to start on your exercise plan, why not try the Couch to 5K challenge. It’s perfect for anyone who hasn’t done any major exercise for a while as it has been designed for beginners.
Don’t forget your Hydratem8 Tracker bottle to keep you hydrated when you’re exercising, too. If you don’t replace the water you lose when you’re sweating, you could become dehydrated. Plus, water can help to keep you satisfied between meals, so you’re less likely to snack. And switching high sugar beverages for water will reduce your overall sugar intake and that’s great for many aspects of your health including your teeth.
National Obesity Awareness Week
Remember National Obesity Awareness Week is all about raising awareness of obesity. It’s a medical condition which can have a detrimental effect on our health. Therefore, this week is the perfect opportunity to get us motivated to eat healthier or take part in more exercise. Making just small changes to your lifestyle can do big things for your health.