It is safe to say that over the past few decades our lifestyles have changed dramatically. It’s hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago food was still being rationed post war. Now all we have to do is click a button and like magic our food appears hot at our front door.

As our lives become busier than ever and we  work longer and harder than ever before, our relationship with food has dwindled. Gone are the days of preparing meals, we often live on fast and convenient foods. These are often full of extra calories, high in sugars and saturated fats.

Is there any wonder that obesity is on the rise in the UK?


So what is obesity and who is at risk?

Obesity is defined by the NHS as a person who’s very overweight, with a lot of body fat. This is a common occurrence across UK, effecting 1 in every 4 adults and 1 in every 5 children.

Not only is obesity responsible for obvious physical changes to the body, it can lead to potentially life threatening conditions such as:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary artery disease
  • cancer (bowel and breast)
  • stroke

As well as Day-to-day problems including:

  • breathlessness
  • increased sweating
  • snoring
  • difficulty doing physical activity
  • fatigue
  • joint and back pains
  • low confidence and self esteem.

Anyone can be at risk of becoming obese. It is not inclusive of one set person. Studies have shown that changes to our life’s can impact massively on our levels of activity and dietary intake especially if we are emotional or undergo physiological changes.


How do we measure for obesity?

BMI (body mass index) is the most commonly used method to calculate a persons health. Measuring whether you are a healthy weight for your height.

In accordance with the NHS

For most adults, a BMI of:
18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight
25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight
30 to 39.9 means you’re obese
40 or above means you’re severely obese

(Check your own BMI here)

however they do warn that this tool can not definitively diagnose obesity, given that it does not account for muscle mass.


How do we all reduce our risks?

It is estimated that by losing even 3% of our body weight and keeping it off will significantly reduce your risk of developing secondary health complications.

Although there is no quick fix to losing weight, diet and exercise are the key factors in this. It is recommended that each adult such be aiming for 150 minutes of exercise per week. However even 10 minutes is better than nothing at all.


Why is this important in Cornwall?

Obesity is on the rise across the county. Statistics from 2016 show that obesity was significantly worse in Cornwall than the rest of England. Although this figure slightly improved in 2017. The county still remains in the lower half of the country’s tables.

This has a major impact on ourselves and our local healthcare system. Secondary illness such as heart attacks and type 2 diabetes are on the rise, putting extreme amount of pressure on doctors surgeries, community services and Emergency Departments. Over time these extra strains will cause extra chaos to these services. Which at times are already under enough pressure!

So let’s act now and together to get Cornwall moving and living a healthier lifestyle.


References:

Office of National Statics (2018)  Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet- England. 

NHS Choices: Obesity

NHS: Hospital Admissions where obesity is a factor

Public Health England- health profile Cornwall 2016

Public Health England- health profile Cornwall 2017