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Five shocking truths about obesity

July 22, 2014 - Health & Nutrition, Research

480513209Being obese doesn’t just make an individual feel uncomfortable about how they look or inhibit them from doing things, it also has serious health implications and an impact on how society functions as a whole. Here, we look at the some worrying truths about obesity…


1. Obesity cuts life expectancy
Obesity can trim life expectancy by a staggering 10 years. A 2009 study by Oxford University analysed almost one million people’s eating habits from around the world. The research found that moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by about three years, and that severe obesity can shorten a person’s life by 10 years. This 10-year loss is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking.

We all know smoking can kill; now it might be time to think of overeating in the same way.

2. Snacking is a new thing
Well, not new exactly, but certainly not something our grandparents would have done. Now there’s a whole section of the food industry dedicated to making products for us to graze on between meals.

According to a study by Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, US children today have on average three snacks per day, as well as three meals. This means that they’re almost constantly eating.

Little wonder that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has cited childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges of the 21st century.

3. Obesity could spell the end of the NHS
The NHS is put under immense pressure by obesity-related illnesses such as type II diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s estimated that £5 billion of the NHS’s budget goes towards treating obesity-related illnesses, and this figure is expected to rise to £15 billion within a few decades.

The most worrying trend is the number of adults in the UK at risk of type II diabetes. According to a recent report published in the BMJ Open, the number of people who have prediabetes – higher than normal blood glucose levels – has tripled in eight years – from 11.6% to 35.3%. This means almost a third of all adults are at a high risk of developing type II diabetes.

4. The food industry is manipulating us
The health industry is fighting a losing battle when it comes to standing up to the food industry. How can it compete with the food industry’s £1 billion marketing spend on food – the glossy TV ads, the promo stands at the end of the supermarket aisles, the catchy slogans emblazoned over bus stops and train stations?

Clever marketing and merchandising means that people are psychologically primed to buy things, even if they don’t need them. Think of those two-for-one offers you end up coming home with, or that new flavor of crisps you just had to sample. Is it any wonder that the nation is becoming obese?

5. We’re overfeeders; even our babies eat too much
Being obese isn’t just caused by eating junk food every day. Even people who eat seemingly healthy diets can struggle with their weight, simply due to piling too much on their plates and over-consuming calories.

A 2013 portion distortion study by the British Heart Foundation found that 88% of people pour out more cereal than the recommended 30g per serving. When it comes to pizza, most people eat a whole one to themselves rather than the recommended half pizza. While one in five said they’d eat a whole big share-bag of crisps, rather than splitting it between five people as recommended on the pack.

Even our nation’s babies are being overfed. A 2013 survey commissioned by the government found that 75% of those aged 4-18 months were getting more calories than they needed from formula milk and solid foods. The implication of this is hungrier babies, more prone to overeating.

We all know that it can be far harder to lose weight than it is to put it on, so the key is cutting back our calorie consumption to avoid the ongoing spread danger of obesity.

For more shocking truths on obesity read this article.

If you’re struggling with your weight and want to do something about it, contact LighterLife today. We have a range of programmes that can help you combat obesity and go on to live a longer, happier, healthier life.

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