Facts about Obesity in the UK
“Obese” is the description given to a very overweight person, with a lot of body fat. The UK has the sixth highest obesity rate amongst OECD countries and the highest in Western Europe. This figure makes Britain now has the highest rate of Obesity compared to all other European countries.
Being overweight is measured by body mass index or BMI (body mass divided by the square of the body height). For adults, a BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese (severely overweight). A person is considered morbidly obese if the BMI is above 40. Morbid obesity is a life-threatening condition.
What can be done to help resolve the UK’s obesity crisis?
According to the National Bariatric Surgery Register, the organisation of surgeons responsible for obesity operations, the NHS could carry out many more stomach-shrinking surgical procedures than it currently does. The register’s chair, Marco Adamo, claimed recently that this sort of surgery is much more commonplace in places like France where it ‘makes a big difference’ to people’s health.Reducing stomach size by surgery may seem like last resort when it comes to tackling extreme levels – known by clinicians as morbid obesity.
Diet and Obesity
Of course, the reasons why the UK should show more incidences of overweight people, obese people and morbidly obese people than other countries is not down to any single factor. Lifestyle plays its part, however. Professor John Newton, who is the director of health improvement at Public Health England, has stated that recent studies carried out in North America and Europe indicate that diet and obesity-related diseases are linked and spreading around the globe. In other words, traditionally British foods, high in saturated fats – like deep-fried fish and chips, meat pies and toad in the hole – might not necessarily be eaten in other countries, but similar levels of fat become increasingly consumed.
Adopting a less traditional British diet with less fat content, such as that which is eaten in many parts of Asia, could well mean that fewer incidences of obesity are reported in future. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the NHS recommends shifting to a balanced diet and more frequent exercise as the two key methods of tackling the problem.
Risks of Obesity
According to the NHS, the following are the main risks that are life-threatening conditions that cause physical changes in the body. As well as physical changes a person can experience Psychological issues with having low self-esteem that can lead to depression.
The following are some health conditions you have a higher risk of developing Obesity:
-Sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea
-Some types of Cancer, such as Bowel and Breast cancer
In the United States, anti-obesity treatment has already been approved which can help certain obesity patients. The US Food and Drug Admiration (FDA) has responsibility for approving any new therapies including drugs. In the UK, a similar role is undertaken by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). According to the NHS, anti-obesity drugs have been passed as safe to use in the UK although only one is approved for use by that organisation, usually for people with a body mass index of 30 or higher.
The FDA has approved multiple drug therapies in the fight against morbid obesity. Most are administered orally and various studies have been conducted in order to measure their effectiveness, especially when a course is taken in conjunction with other activities, such as an alteration in dietary intake. From the available research, it appears that relying on anti-obesity drugs alone is not a reliable method and lifestyle changes are required by most people, too.
In the US, drug therapies are backed by the many calls for lifestyle changes. Rightly, this is often identified with a change of mindset among the public as much as it is an alteration to everyday habits. Good ideas like ‘rewarding’ good behaviours rather than ‘punishing’ bad ones tend to be put forward.
According to the British Obesity Society (OBS), one in four British adults were obese in 2014. Childhood obesity is also a problem due to the fact that OBS data reveals that a tenth of children aged between four and five are obese, with around twice that number being classed as overweight.
With childhood obesity growing, it stands to reason that British become obese among adults looks set to rise. Already, the UK ranks in the top five for causes among the leading industrialised nations.
Getting adequate Support for Obesity
Overall, obese people should take heart that help is out there. By adjusting our diets and exercise regime, we can take control of what is causing obesity.
Of course, drug therapies are available too, which will assist with the adoption of a more active way of life. If you’re obese, speak to your GP for the best medical advice about losing weight safely.
Sources: British Obesity Society, NHS, FDA.Gov, NCBI, WebMD