National Obesity Awareness Week 2015 encourages small changes now for long-term gains

National Obesity Awareness WeekMonday saw the beginning of National Obesity Awareness Week 2015, a campaign that aims to take back control of the nation’s spiralling obesity crisis, and, as many of us will have ‘weight loss’ as one of our New Year’s resolutions, there is no better time to act than now.

Alarmingly, around 25% of adults are deemed to be obese. According to NHS Choices, a BMI of 30 to 39.9 means you are considered obese, and the government claims that unless the problem is tackled, 60% of men, 50% of women and 24% of children will be obese by the year 2050.

Clearly, obesity is an incredibly serious problem that needs fighting. It effects not only our personal health – increasing the risk of problems including heart attacks, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and arthritis – but can have a detrimental impact to society.

McKinsey and Company produced a report last year documenting the country’s various yearly outgoings, with their economic analysis estimating that the fight against obesity is costing the UK even more than tackling armed violence, war and terrorism. According to their calculations, the problem of obesity costs the UK in excess of £46.5bn ($73bn) a year, in comparison to the £43bn ($67bn) it costs the country due to armed violence, war and terrorism. The biggest social cost to the country though – and by some distance – remains smoking, with the impact from smoking costing a staggering £57bn ($86bn) in 2012.

On a global scale, armed violence, war and terrorism is costing the economy $2.1 trillion a year, and obesity isn’t too far behind, at $2 trillion, with the following social burden being alcoholism, costing $1.4 trillion.

Unfortunately, obesity appears to be a growing problem. Almost a quarter of children are considered to be obese upon leaving primary school, in addition to the one in four adults also obese. Over 12,000 hospital appointments are made each year because of health issues associated with obesity, placing further pressure on an already stretched NHS budget.

However, this is where National Obesity Awareness Week comes into play, aiming to promote the various methods how the government, businesses and us as individuals can implement positive steps to boost our health, with the information and resources from the campaign enabling a long-term positive change. This doesn’t mean people have to make astronomical alterations, but smaller, manageable and sustainable changes that can be kept up beyond National Obesity Awareness Week – this might be cutting down on sugar in your diet, reducing alcohol intake, or increasing the amount of exercise you do.

The campaign encourages everyone to get involved, whether it is events, activities and promotions taking place around the country, or people can even organise their own event with the online supporters’ pack.

The National Obesity Awareness Week website is also full of fantastic, useful information, such as exercise tips to help successful weight loss, an explanation of calories and the number of calories expended in an hour of doing various exercise such as running or swimming, why low-fat diets don’t always work for those trying to lose weight, healthier cooking recipes, a breakdown of the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets and their purposes, how to stay active during pregnancy and much more.

So, whatever it is you decide to do to take part, why don’t we all commit to making 2015 the year we take action with manageable and sustainable changes to turn the obesity crisis around before it is too late.

Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can also help those trying to lose weight, with our fantastic range of obesity treatments such as Xenical and Orlistat. Used in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise, these treatments are very effective and can help people regain their confidence to enjoy a happier and healthier 2015!

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