The Obesity Epidemic and Rising Incidents of Diabetes

The obesity epidemic is spreading its tentacles and has reached a stage where 10% of all adults in the UK are so obese that their doctors consider it a serious health risk.

Obesity has been a matter of concern for the last few decades, but what is more worrying is the rapid increase in the rate at which it is rising in recent years — there has been a 5.5%-rise in obesity between 2008/09 and 2009/10.

The current obesity rate of 25% appears even more staggering when it is viewed on the basis of BMI or Body Mass Index. However, BMI also takes into account heavily muscled bodybuilders and sportspersons who are far from unhealthy.

A more realistic figure would be one that general practitioners have been pressured to record since for the last two years.

According to figures collected from records maintained by general practitioners, the number of obese adults has risen by 1.25 million in the past one year, touching a staggering figure of 5.5 million obese over-16s.

danger of obesityAs if that wasn’t enough to raise alarm bells, approximately 2.8 million people suffer from Type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder associated with unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyles.

Read these figures with the assumption that there would be thousands who would not be on the obesity registers maintained by general practitioners, and we have a truly alarming situation.

The bottom line is that nearly 10% of the population is being treated for obesity, and 5% for Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is considered to be a ‘lifestyle’ disease and can be prevented.

The best way to avoid it is by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

A healthy diet is a balanced diet based on recommended percentages of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, along with a fair amount of fibre rich foods.

That translates into a diet that contains more fruits and vegetables and less fat, sugar, and salt.

The shocking rise in diabetes and obesity is a clarion call for people to realize the importance of eating adequate quantities of fruit and vegetables daily and make healthy food choices.

The sad part is that considering the way things are and given the utter negligence shown by the government in this regard, we can only expect obesity and diabetes levels to go up. Actually, the situation may be even worse if figures of obese children were to be taken into account.

The recent legal ruling that gives local authorities the right to consider the health of students while sanctioning applications for takeaways has shown how teenage obesity can be controlled. The ruling has led councils across the country to revisit planning rules, and high on their agenda is to ban the opening of junk food outlets near schools.

Waltham Forest Council in East London became the first council to create an exclusion zone of 400 meters for junk food outlets around schools, parks, and leisure centres. It is a positive step in the right direction, but it may take a long time, as research conducted by the School Food Trust reveals.

There are, on an average, 23 junk food outlets surrounding secondary schools. Since the new planning rules will apply to new applications only, it is incumbent on councils to also act against existing outlets near schools.