The world, as a whole, has a growing obesity crisis and it is a crisis that is gaining momentum year on year.
Every corner we turn, we are faced with a coffee shop, a bakery, or a fast food outlet. Our time is limited due to longer working hours and social commitments so we don’t exercise as much as we should (plus gyms have spent most of 2020 closed thanks to Covid-19. After a long day at work, it’s far easier to order your food online via websites such as Just Eat than it is to start cooking. An emphasis has been placed on convenience; takeaways are no longer a ‘treat’, they are a regular occurence in many households, but this fast-paced, fast-food lifestyle is taking its toll on our health and it’s putting a strain on our bodies and our health services.
In 2017, NHS Digital performed an obesity study (that looked at figures from 2015/16) that identified that 68% of men and 58% of UK women were overweight or obese. The 2020 NHS Digital study, that looks at 2018/2019, showed that the figures now stand at 67% of men (down 1%) and 60% of women (up 2%). Although the increases seem small consider that our population stands at 66.65 million; one percent of this is 666,650 people.
What is even more worrying was that the 2020 statistics stated that 20% of year 6 children (aged 10/11) were OBESE! As parents we are prematurely killing our children by teaching them poor eating habits and this is incredibly sad to see. Eating habits are learned, and the NHS Digital report identified that 26% of children who had obese parents were also obese meaning that if you, as a parent, are obese there’s a 1 in 4 your child will be too.
The 2017 obesity study also identified that there were 525,000 obesity-related hospital admissions back in 2015, of which 2 out of 3 patients were female. If we look at the figures from 2018/19, this has risen to 876,000 with 11,117 of these admissions were directly attributed to obesity. You can view the hospital admissions by region here.
Those that seemed to require hospital admissions for obesity related illnesses were aged between 35 and 64. The highest number of hospital admissions where obesity was the primary diagnosis were in NHS Birmingham and Solihul who had 380 admissions, closely followed by NHS Sunderland who had 340 admissions in 2018/19.
The cost of prescribed items for the treatment of obesity cost our NHS £10.4 million pounds in 2019, with NHS Barnsley having the highest prescription rate, but why are we resorting to pharmaceutical alternatives when our bodies are capable of repairing themselves in most cases if we exercise some self love, eat well and exercise more and these are all areas I can help you work on as a health coach.
But now let’s look at the problems obesity causes us and it can cause a range of problems, both physical and psychological.
Some of these day-to-day problems can include:
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to carry out physical exercise
- Joint and back pain
- Feelings of lethargy
- Low confidence
- Low self-esteem
In addition to the above issues obesity also carries an increased risk of many potentially serious health conditions such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes (obesity is actually the most common cause of type 2 diabetes)
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Cancer (including bowel cancer, breast cancer and womb cancer – in fact obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking)
To check your BMI, which is what forms the basis of identifying if your are overweight or obese, you can use the NHS BMI Calculator. This will let you know how healthy you are, but do be advised … muscle mass is never taken into consideration. Bodybuilders will often classify as morbidly obese due to the sheer weight of their muscle mass however they don’t have excess fat (and its the fat held around the abdomen that poses the biggest health risks!
So what can you do if you fall into the overweight or obese category? Ideally, you want to work towards getting into that healthy category, but you also need to understand why you are making food choices that may not be beneficial to you. As a health coach I can work with you to search within yourself to discover your relationship with food, identify your trigger points and develop strategies to overcome them so you can move forward in a healthier and happier way.