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Tackling our next pandemic

Work from home, lockdowns, and the wide variety of food delivery options have undoubtedly caused us all to gain a few pounds and widen our waistlines, but the WHO says that this is a global issue. Obesity rates have been steadily rising in recent years, but the past few years have definitely accelerated the increase. In reality, there have been roughly three times as many fast food delivery options since 1975, which has caused a rise in their availability for all of us. Worldwide, there were more than 2.1 billion overweight or obese persons as of 2016!

Why is it necessary to talk about obesity?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher as overweight and those with a BMI of 30 or higher as obese. Obesity makes up around 65-75% of the risk profile for high blood pressure, and about 90% of persons with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese.

There were 38.2 million overweight or obese children under the age of five in the world in 2019, according to estimates. By 2030, researchers predict that about 60% of the world's population will be overweight or obese if current trends continue. Uncomfortable as they may be to read, these truths must be acknowledged: being overweight shortens life expectancy and increases your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's, depression, and other mental health problems.

Am I genetically predisposed to be obese?

"Your genes might load the rifle, but your lifestyle and surroundings pull the trigger," goes an adage. The idea that our genes might affect how we consume energy and adjust to times of overeating or undereating is true on a physiological level. factors like the attitudes we learn from our parents about things like eating and fitness. Additionally significant are psychology, inequality, and our surroundings. Additionally, modern culture frequently pushes us to use food and alcohol as coping techniques, which, of course, exacerbates the obesity problem. We also know that mental health conditions have a genetic component. Similar to how your genes may predispose you to be overweight, if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you are highly unlikely to develop obesity. No matter what, we must accept some accountability when we make poor decisions and take no action to change them.

What about my surroundings?

The message of "overconsumption" is constantly present since humans are products of their circumstances. The food and beverage business spends millions of dollars and uses ever-creative methods to entice you to purchase their goods. Nowadays, we have a variety of applications at our disposal that let us order meals and have it delivered to our doors within 15 minutes. Low-income families and people in deprived regions are more likely to choose less wholesome, less expensive foods. The simple option is frequently the unhealthy option and, in certain situations, the best option (on the surface). With restrictions on food advertising to youngsters and the implementation of the sugar tax, there have already been minor moves in the right direction.

How do I make the first step to change?

People do in fact need to be in a setting that supports them in making beneficial changes to their food and exercise routines, including the right information and direction when it comes to becoming healthier overall. An imbalance between our calorie intake and expenditure will always be the root reason of becoming overweight or obese.

Actions that encourage a healthy lifestyle all around and keeping to these better habits regularly will provide benefits when it comes to weight loss…

- Use your food intake and activity to create an energy deficit

- Whole foods that are high in nutrients should make up the majority of your diet, be sure to include healthy fats, fibre, fruits and vegetables, plus lean protein

- By moving more frequently throughout the day, you can improve your daily activity. A good place to start is by counting your current steps and working your way up from there

- Make a good nights sleep a priority, strive for 7 to 9 hours a night on average.

- Instead of utilising food and drink to lessen your anxiety, learn to relax by practising relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation

With the EK health kiosk you can complete the NHS Health Check pathways relating to weight issues on the kiosk prior to your GP appointment so less time is needed for data-gathering and you can spend more time discussing your health with your GP who can work with you to offer options and hopefully solutions.

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