Talk of an obesity crisis in the UK is nothing new. We’ve seen for decades that the number of people outside of the ‘healthy weight’ parameters is on the rise and medics have been warning of the dangers for years – so is a new approach needed?
Some people don’t even realise they fall within the category of ‘obese’ – which is generally those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30. This needs to be followed by a personal conviction to make the necessary lifestyle changes and seeking support if they need it.
New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) highlights the importance of encouraging patients to make long-term lifestyle changes in a ‘respectful’ and ‘non-blaming’ way. Crucially, it stresses that there is no ‘quick fix’ remedy for people to lose their unwanted weight – it takes commitment and perseverance.
Over 20% of people in the UK are medically obese and a further third of the population are overweight – a shocking 30,000 deaths a year are caused by obesity in England. With options and support in place for you, you don’t have to become a part of this tragic statistic.
Read our expert advice on how to lose weight when it seems like you’ve tried it all.
1 – The causes of obesity – the need for weight loss
In otherwise healthy people, the causes of being obese or overweight are simple; eating too much or taking too little exercise, or probably both. If you regularly consume more calories than you burn off, you will put on weight. Thankfully the opposite is true – if you burn off more calories than you consume on a regular basis you will lose weight. The way to achieve weight loss is therefore to eat less and do more.
Obesity can lead to serious health issues including diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, reducing life expectancy by nine years on average. Carrying additional weight can raise your blood pressure and also puts added strain on your joints, which can lead to the development of arthritis – a condition that’s affecting people at an increasingly young age.
2 – Lifestyle Changes
The best way to guarantee weight loss is to take in fewer calories and do more exercise.
Eating low fat or low carbohydrate foods cannot provide a short cut to weight loss unless the result is a reduction in calories (which may well be the case). Your body can convert fat to carbohydrates and vice versa so changing the proportion of each in the diet in an attempt to lose weight is meaningless. It is now believed that eating a higher proportion of protein rich foods can stave off hunger for longer, and so help the consumption of fewer calories overall.
3 – Prescription Medication Treatments
For some, weight can be an embarrassing subject to talk about too. Thousands of patients have chosen to consult the convenient and confidential Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service about weight concerns, rather than seeing a GP face-to-face. In an independent national survey they commissioned, one in ten people said they would feel embarrassed to talk to someone about weight problems.
In addition to lifestyle changes that increase exercise and reduce calorie intake, doctors can prescribe medication that can assist in weight loss. The main prescription treatment is Xenical, which works in the digestive system to prevent around 30% of dietary fat from being absorbed by the body. The same active ingredient (orlistat) is also available without a prescription at a lower strength in a product called Alli which is available from Pharmacy2U. There is also another medicine that has been shown to be very effective at promoting weight loss but which is not medically licensed for that purpose. The injection is licensed in the UK as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, and has been shown to be safe for that purpose. For legal reasons we are unable to name this medicine but it is available through Pharmacy2U Online Doctor to assist with weight loss should our doctor decide it is appropriate for you.
4 -Thinking about surgery
For those with a BMI greater than 35 with a health related problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure, surgery will assist with weight loss and could be an option. If you wish to consider this further you should consult your GP. There are 2 main types of surgical approach to weight loss:
- Gastric band. A band is fitted around the neck of the stomach. This causes a feeling of fullness after eating a very small amount of food, and causes slow eating which helps with feeling full after a smaller amount of food.
- Gastric bypass or stapling. Here, the volume of the stomach is made smaller. This causes a feeling of fullness after eating small amounts of food, and reduces calorie absorption.
5 – Looking to the future
Obesity rates are escalating to unprecedented levels and there’s no quick or easy solution. Although the new NICE guidance on lifestyle weight management services is yet to be finalised, it’s clear that blaming an individual or indeed society for the situation is fruitless.
What’s important is providing the help and support that’s needed now, as well as promoting healthy lifestyles for future generations.
If you want to lose weight, act now and click to start your secure Weight loss consultation