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Waistlines expand as obesity grows

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

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I WAS slightly mortified but not surprised to discover, through the wonders of an online BMI calculator, that I am overweight.

Christmas overindulgence, added with an all inclusive holiday and a lack of motivation to go running as the cold, dark nights crept in have all taken their toll.

Typing my weight and height into an online BMI (body mass index) calculator told me that I am just over the threshold of what is a ‘normal’ weight.

But rather than consoling myself with chips and doughnuts, I plan on doing something about it - eating less and doing more exercise. It sounds simple enough, bit if it is that easy then why are the levels of obesity in the UK rising each year?

In 2007 predictions were made about the levels of obesity in the future. The predictions were that half the population will be obese by 2050.

However, this was an underestimation according to The National Obesity Forum, which fears Britain looks likely to surpass the prediction. The forum is calling for hard-hitting awareness campaigns, similar to the approach taken to smoking, to try to stem the problem.

It has also called for GPs to proactively discuss weight management with patients, and routinely measure children’s height and weight and adults’ waist size.

Chairman of the forum Professor David Haslam said: “We’re now seven years on from the Foresight Report. Not only is the obesity situation in the UK not improving, but the doomsday scenario set out in that report might underestimate the true scale of the problem.”

The fears about the future of the nation’s health come in line with national obesity week.

Barry Fowers, 54, from Hatton has struggled with obesity for a number of years.

In 2010 we reported that 30 stone Barry had been told he was too fat to work. He took voluntary redundancy from his job as an assembler fitter after medical reasons forced him to quit.

His weight has led to him having heart problems, arthritis, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

He lost four stone after being given help from Hatton fitness instructor Joseph Spendlove but put all the weight back on.

His wife Shirley told the Mail that not much had changed since we reported his story almost four years ago.

In Derbyshire more than one in four people are classed as obese.

In order to combat the epidemic Derbyshire County Council has launched a campaign to encourage local food businesses to take more responsibility for the health of people in the county.

The Heart of Derbyshire Awards Scheme will aim to increase the range and variety of healthy options and healthy food available to people, encourage and support the development of healthier options by providing advice and guidance and

recognise the efforts and achievements of food producers and retailers.

The council’s cabinet member for health and communities, councillor Dave Allen said: “We know that when people have more access to information as well as support they enjoy better health and wellbeing.

“The number of obese people nationally is rising and we haven’t escaped this trend in Derbyshire.

“With obesity comes a host of associated health risks and we have to act now to try to stop the numbers rising even further.

“That’s why we have outlined plans to improve our wellbeing services as well as launch the new Heart of Derbyshire campaign to get all members of the community involved in meeting the challenge.”

National charity Kidney Research UK is warning that an obesity epidemic could have a devastating effect on kidney health in the UK, creating a kidney health crisis.

The charity is urging the public to be aware of the risks associated with obesity – including kidney disease.

Sandra Currie, CEO of Kidney Research UK, said: “Should obesity levels continue to rise, this could have a devastating effect on the number of people being diagnosed with kidney disease, along with the annual cost of kidney disease to the NHS in England which is estimated to be £1.45 billion.

“It is important to be aware of the associated health problems with being overweight.

“There is currently no cure for kidney disease; the only treatments available are dialysis, a transplant or conservative care.”

MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen led calls to tackle the scale of the UK obesity problem at a Parliamentary event last year.

A survey in 2012 found that just over a quarter of all adults in England are obese. A further 41 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women are classed as overweight.

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