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Obesity: a global crisis

As this map over time illustrates, obesity isn’t just a national problem; it’s a global one. According to this particular research (Galka, 2017), the average adult is three times more likely to be obese today than they were in 1975, when initial data was collected. For the UK in particular, the figures move from 9% in the ’70s to a whopping 27.3% in 2014 – and the statistics are growing all the time.

As many of you will already know, obesity isn’t just an aesthetic problem. Those who are obese are far more likely to develop conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and even some kinds of cancer. But, as the causes of obesity – like overeating and lack of exercise – are often habitual, it’s not necessarily a simple thing to fix.

That’s why, with support from Obesity Awareness Week and January, we’re doing everything we can to raise awareness of obesity. In turn, we hope to inspire a more active lifestyle, better dietary habits, and more mindfulness around the subject. Naturally, if we each do our bit to reduce how obesity affects us personally, that can only be a good thing. But this is a global epidemic. So the real question is: what can we do to help address the wider issue?

Encourage our children to eat better, and go outside more

Research suggests that 28.2% of UK children aged between 2 and 15 are overweight or obese. To mitigate the issue of obesity in the future, we must do everything we can to promote a healthy diet in our children, and take steps to encourage outdoor activities and hobbies. But at the same time, it’s about moderation. It’s less about banning TV and junk food, and more about making it a treat or a once-in-a-while thing, rather than the norm, day to day.

Take time away from the desk; make time for exercise

Since the ’70s, the average job role has shifted dramatically. It’s thought that around 80% of people in the UK have a desk job, which has a dramatic impact on the amount of exercise we get naturally over the course of a day. To counter this issue, try to get out and walking over your lunch break. Alternatively, research suggests that those who cycle to work, on average, had a BMI score one point lower than those who drive.

Don’t let the labels fool you

According to one piece of research by Nielsen, a staggering 59% of consumers feel like nutritional labels are difficult to understand. To illustrate, an item labelled with ‘no added sugar’ may still contain natural sugars, and may also contain carbohydrates like maltodextrin, which can have a similar effect in the body. This also goes for serving sizes: sometimes something that may look like it’s pretty good for is actually based on a serving that’s much smaller than what you might expect. It pays to read carefully!

If you’d like to talk to a dietary professional about how to lose weight, please get in touch by phone: 0808 239 9828.

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