Health & Wellbeing

What’s really weighing us down…

Blackboard with a checklist

More than just a fat issue, obesity is on the increase in the UK, and at an alarming rate, but it's not all about piling on the pounds and having a limited choice in the fashion department…

Of course it can be psychologically damaging to carry a high amount of excess weight and depression is often cited as a side-effect of the condition but there are other consequences to obesity that are potentially life-threatening.

For instance, obesity (generally a term used for those with a BMI of over 30) can lead to a number of serious conditions including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancers. Obese individuals are also more likely to suffer from a stroke plus there are secondary factors which, although not fatal, are certainly not pleasant. These common problems include breathlessness, increased sweating, struggling with basic physical activity and feelings of fatigue.

To raise awareness of the burden which is fast falling upon us all, here are some little known facts about obesity that may surprise:

Obesity is a term which means that a person weighs at least 20 per cent more than what is considered normal for his or her height

Weight around your waist and stomach is potentially more of a threat to your health than weight around your hips and buttocks

Being overweight or obese contributes to the development of diabetes by making cells more resistant to the effects of insulin

An obese individual may suffer from sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep)

65% of the world's population live in countries where being overweight and obese kills more people than being underweight

That last fact is a shocker as it highlights the senselessness of this issue. There are more people dying from illnesses related to being overweight than there are people dying from a lack of food. Is it so hard to do something about the former? We have our hands tied, in the main, over the latter but we could and we should and we simply have to act to take control of the former.