Keeping the weight off can be challenging. With the combination of easy access to unhealthy foods and busy lifestyles, beating obesity can sometimes seem almost impossible. A large percentage of people in the UK are feeling the effects of being overweight or obese, with the millennial generation (those born between the early 1980s and mid 90s) looking set to be the most overweight generation on record. As the trend currently stands, 7 in 10 millennials will be overweight by the time they hit middle-age.
Beating Obesity Related Diseases
In all of Western Europe, we in the UK are the fattest, and we are rapidly getting fatter. Sadly, although most people are fully aware of the more obvious diseases linked to obesity (heart disease and diabetes for instance) research has found that most are unaware of the links with 13 types of cancer. These include breast, bowel and kidney cancer.
Despite a reputation for preferring seemingly healthier foods than previous generations, the millennial obesity trend is a worrying one. Excess fat stored in the body not only causes damage to the kidneys, liver, heart, blood vessels, and causes diabetes, it also sends harmful messages around the body, damaging cells and increasing the risk of cancer. The effect of being overweight causes similar damage to your overall health as smoking.
Simple Changes For Beating Obesity
There has recently been a lot of focus on childhood obesity in particular, with the government looking for ways to curb the ever-increasing numbers of overweight children in the UK. Three strategies have been put into play: firstly, a Change4Life campaign urging parents to cut down on high-calories snacks for children; secondly, a ban on junk food advertisements before the 9pm watershed; and thirdly, a sugar tax which is soon to come into effect. Education in healthy eating is also on the rise – schools are providing healthier options during lunch times, as well as promoting exercise through P.E. lessons.
All of these changes can apply to adults. By altering our diet and lifestyle to become healthier, we can manage our weight and reduce our risk of obesity related diseases. Although diet is the key issue here, weight management and a healthy lifestyle should also include physical activity.
Beating Obesity Through Weight Management and Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is not as complicated as a lot of recent diet trends may suggest. Experts still stand by the age-old advice that a balanced diet is the best way to go. This means getting plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet, as well as lean meats, dairy, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Avoiding any of these essential elements of a healthy diet can prove detrimental to the body – this includes carbohydrates which are essential for energy production.
Here are some diet changes you could include:
- Cut down on foods that are high in both sugar and fat, such as chocolate, sweets and cakes
- Avoid fast food and takeaways – it is always a healthier option to try to prepare food fresh in the home
- Include more fibre and protein in your diet. These types of foods will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Good sources of protein include chicken, lean mince, beans and legumes, and dairy products such as eggs and natural yoghurt. Sources of fibre include wholegrains, sweet potatoes, whole wheat, nuts and beans.
- Increase your levels of activity. The recommended daily amount of moderate exercise is around 30 minutes. This means exercise which increases your heart rate.
For more advice on eating a well-balanced diet and beating obesity, the Bracknell Forest Self Care Guide has links to information on everything from diet and nutrition, to asthma and arthritis.
If you are worried about yours or your loved ones’ health or weight, and have been experiencing weight-related issues, you can help yourself to beat obesity by searching for information on the NHS Choices website, or call NHS Direct on 111.