Obesity. It’s a word that’s bandied about a fair bit these days, and with there being a lot of news attention on the government’s plans to tackle obesity, it’s an issue that’s hard to escape.
But what do we actually know about obesity? We’ve done a little research into the topic to bring you 10 facts and obesity statistics in the UK you might not know about.
Over 60% of Adults in the UK are Obese or Overweight
This is an alarming obesity statistic. A study by Cancer Research UK found that in the year 2018/2019, more than 6 in 10 adults were classed as obese or overweight, equating to an estimated 35 million (1)!
The UK has the Largest Obesity Rate in Europe
With such high numbers of obesity in the UK, it doesn’t come as a surprise that we actually have the largest rate of it in Europe, and the second highest in the world, according to this article by Health Express.
There are over 60 known Chronic Diseases link to Obesity
Obesity affects almost all systems of the body, from the nervous system to the muscular system. Over the link, it’s been linked to an increased risk of over 60 chronic diseases (2). Common conditions include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack or stroke, while more unknown conditions include gastroesophageal disease (GERD) and even infertility.
Costs of Obesity to the NHS with over 11,000 Hospital Admissions
A report published by the NHS found that for the year 2018/2019, over 11,000 hospital admissions were attributed directly to obesity, an increase of 4% from the previous year (3). Additionally, obesity was a contributing factor in 876,000 of admissions, increasing by a rather shocking 23% in the last year (3).
The Cost of Diabetes
Charity Diabetes UK reported that there are 3.8 million people living with a diabetes diagnosis, and 90% of those people are type 2 (4). By 2030, it’s estimated that this number will increase to 5.5 million (4). Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented through healthy eating, losing weight and maintaining an active lifestyle, and the charity argues that many cases can be prevented by raising awareness of the condition. A 2016 news article reported that the costs of diabetes to the NHS are £25,000 on the disease every minute, with an estimate of £14 billion spent every year, and a considerable amount of the costs are spent on complications (5).
It’s Not Just Unhealthy Lifestyles That Contribute
Many people see poor lifestyle choices and eating habits as the main cause of obesity, but that’s not necessarily the case. Yes, a poor diet and lack of exercise can certainly be a factor, but there’s more to it. There are multiple factors that may contribute to a rise in obesity, with everything from stress and poor sleep to medications and hormones making an appearance, along with a number of economic and environmental factors too.
In the Genes?
While we’ve already mentioned that there are many factors to obesity, genetics can also be a factor (6). Children of obese parents may be more likely to be obese themselves, and studies involving identical twins have indicated that genetics may be responsible when it comes to how susceptible we are to gaining weight (7).
Managing It Isn’t Just About Dieting
Yes, there’s no denying that dieting and regular exercise are the best ways to lose weight, but there’s also a lot more to that. Many will also need to make a few lifestyle changes on top of this too in order to see lasting results.
Small things such as increasing your water intake to help you feel fuller, stocking your fridge with fruits and veggies and having smaller plates at mealtimes can all go a long way.
If exercise isn’t for you, walking is a great alternative to get those calories burning. Walking everyday- especially 10,000 steps or more- is an easy, low impact way to help manage your weight.
Eating in a calorie deficit is a good way to manage your weight without committing to a more controlled diet. Put simply, a calorie deficit basically means consuming fewer calories than you burn. You can do this by swapping out one of your meals with an exante meal replacement product or counting the calories of your daily meals.