Every year, National Obesity Awareness Week begins on the second Monday of January. It kicked off yesterday for 2019, and will run until the 20th, promoting a healthier national weight. Obesity is a common medical condition where a person has too much body fat, often caused by too much fat and sugar in a person’s diet. It affects around one in four adults and around one in every five children aged 10 to 11.
It’s common knowledge that tackling obesity should be a priority because it can lead to many serious conditions. These include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer and strokes. Our state-of-the-art DNA tests can help you understand your risk of these conditions and make changes to your lifestyle.
Obesity is a common medical condition where a person has too much body fat, often caused by too much fat and sugar in a person’s diet
So how can you work out if an individual is obese? BMI (body mass index) is a useful indication of whether you’re a healthy weight, overweight or obese. The NHS has a handy BMI healthy weight calculator so you can work this out for yourself. Generally, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight, 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight, and 30 to 39.9 means you’re obese.
It’s estimated that 48 percent of Britons will be obese by 2045 if current trends are not halted. So, let’s pick out some of those unhealthy trends and fattening bad habits, and discuss how they can be avoided.
A culture of fast food
The UK high street has the highest concentration of fast food outlets in almost a decade. Interestingly, people most exposed to these establishments are nearly twice as likely to be obese. The BBC has found that the UK has seen a 34 percent increase in fast food restaurants from 2010 to 2018. And junk food is becoming increasingly popular due to its cheap price and convenience.
While fast food tastes good due to salt and fat, it’s important to regard it as a treat. This is because some meals contain a full day’s calories which will be stored in the body as fat.
Some meals contain a full day’s calories which will be stored in the body as fat
Another dietary cause of obesity is excessive amounts of sugar. Once again, it can be really tempting to eat sugary foods because of our preconception that they taste delicious. However, when you eat too much glucose, your body will store it as fat. Recently, campaign group Action on Sugar called for a ban on Insta-popular milkshakes with more than 300 calories. Many shakes on the market contained more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult. The British Heart Foundation calculated that an average 25-year-old would need to jog for nearly three hours to burn off the calories! So, don’t order something sweet off the menu just because it’s trendy on social media. Consider it’s nutritional value and fat content too.
Recently, campaign group Action on Sugar called for a ban on Insta-popular milkshakes with more than 300 calories
Lack of exercise
In the 21st century, a lack of physical exercise is another big issue contributing to obesity. Many of us have jobs which involve sitting at a desk all day, and to get to work we tend to choose the convenience of driving over walking or cycling. It’s also common for us to be quite inactive when we relax too, as we prefer to watch TV or curl up on the sofa with a book rather than exercise. This can mean that the energy in the food that you eat isn’t used up – and it’s then stored in the body as fat.
The Department of Health recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking, every week. To make this easier and more enjoyable, you can break it up into short bursts of exercise spread out during the week. For inspiration, check out our earlier blog post on How to fit exercise into a busy routine.
The Department of Health recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling, every week
While external factors such as poor diet and inactivity are usually to blame when it comes to obesity, sometimes genetics can play a part. Children of obese parents are more likely to become obese than children of parents with a healthy bodyweight. With this in mind, our NutriQlu test can give you valuable genetic insights into issues related to obesity such as your personal metabolism, saturated and unsaturated fat content and exercise behaviour. Order it now to understand your body better this National Obesity Awareness Week!
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