National Obesity Week: Donut sugar-coat it anymore.

One in four adults in the UK is considered obese. It is a rising concern amongst healthcare practitioners, with much of the population still not taking the issue seriously.

This week, the National Obesity Week aims to shed light on the growing issue of obesity in adults and children in the UK through workshops and events. Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, spoke about his organisation’s actions and his opinions to tackling the issue.

Image credit: SANCDA website

He said: “The chief cure to tackle obesity is to revert to a healthy lifestyle, to eat well and to exercise.  It is not easy to accomplish and may take weeks or months to accomplish.

“Our forum will be submitting evidence to Holyrood to include proper monitoring of children’s excess weight as a function in stemming the appalling rise of childhood obesity. The chief event this week has been set to assist in publicising the initiative of Tameside General Hospital in Manchester where sugar – a significant cause of obesity – is to be banned from its staff and visitors restaurants.”

Infographic on obesity in the UK in 2017 / Image credit: n-compass northwest website

While genetics may play a role in our body weight and size, it is not the ultimate cause of obesity. Research taken by the University of Edinburgh suggested that lifestyle differences were the cause of the obesity rates in Scotland.

Professor Chris Haley of the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh said: “Our findings reveal that the factors that have the greatest impact on regional obesity rates can be modified.

“This is good news because it means we can do something about the problem and potentially narrow the health gap between areas that are least and worst affected.”

The biggest issue lies in the population’s denial of the fact. Many still uphold the idea of having good health and lifestyle when in fact, the numbers suggest a different story.

Infographic on the effects of obesity / Image credit: n-compass northwest website

According to statistics from the Scottish Government, a fifth of children in their first year at primary school is at risk of being overweight or obese. Children as young as two have been sent for treatment and weight management in the Lothian district.

The Scottish Government is concerned by the rise in childhood obesity in the country and hopes to improve the situation through various positive actions. Maureen Watt, a former Public Health Minister, stated that: “Obesity is a notable public health issue in most of western Europe and in Scotland there is no exception. The Scottish Government is committed to addressing it by taking action to improve diets and encourage physical activity.”

Infographic on the effects of obesity / Image credit: n-compass northwest website

Many organisations in Scotland are in support of raising awareness of this growing problem as well. Edinburgh Leisure is dedicated to creating opportunities for those who want to get active and lead healthier lives.

Conor McLean, a Weight Management Development Officer at Edinburgh Leisure said:”Leading a healthy and more active lifestyle can improve your health and wellbeing, bettering your quality of life and minimising risk factors which can lead to long-term health conditions.”

Several companies, such as The Data Lab, have even extended their hands to other countries to further the research. The Edinburgh-based innovation centre decided to collaborate with Unicef to bring together data scientists in Scotland and strategists in the US. Its goal is ti examine the relationship between obesity and other health issues, with the hope of understanding and predicting the treatments needed for these conditions in the future.

There will be a talk held by the National Obesity Forum in Edinburgh on the 21st February regarding the policy priorities in tackling obesity in Scotland. More information and tickets can be booked here.

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