Obesity - Our National Time Bomb

Featured in the May 2009 handbook.

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Over half the population of the UK is overweight and a staggering one in five of us is classed as obese... the figures for children are even more alarming. Their obesity levels more than tripled between 1994 and 2002. If this trend continues experts predict that by 2020 50% of children will be obese.

18 million sick days a year are attributed to obesity. The increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke reduces life expectancy by nine years. In the UK obesity causes more than 30,000 premature deaths per year!

The rapid rise in obesity is lifestyle related. As a nation we now eat a lot of processed, high fat, food. At the same time weíre an inactive bunch.

On average we now spend 26 hours per week watching TV and fewer than a third of us take part in regular exercise.

This makes pretty depressing reading but there is some good news. There are many simple, effective things you can do to help yourself. Itís less daunting than it seems.

Forget the faddy diets. Health professionals simply advise increasing fruit and veg intake, choosing leaner cuts of meat and cutting down on the processed foods crammed with fat and sugar. The aim is to lose 5-10% of your body weight over a three to six month period. Thatís about

1-2lb per week.

While itís possible to lose weight on your own itís easier with support. There are many reputable weight loss organisations where members offer each other support and

encouragement.

Why not check out your local gym. Health professionals agree that increasing your level of activity is important in achieving weight loss. A personal trainer can be a great motivator. Most gyms offer this facility now and itís cheaper than you think.

Swimming is the ideal exercise for many obese people as the water supports the joints allowing complete mobility. Why not ring your local pool to enquire about beginnersí aquarobics.

Changing your lifestyle isnít easy but the person who will benefit is you...and youíre worth it.

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