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  • Lifestyle and Weight Management
  • Lifestyle and Weight Management
  • Lifestyle and Weight Management
Obesity & weight

Obesity & weight

We become overweight or obese when we regularly take in more calories* than we burn through physical activity causing our bodies to turn the unused calories into fat and store it.

The number of adults and children who are overweight or obese in the UK is increasing and so are the associated health problems.

Carrying extra weight puts a strain on your heart and joints and causes you to produce hormones and chemicals which can put you at greater risk of developing health problems such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Indigestion
  • Gallstones
  • Some cancers (e.g. breast and prostate cancers)
  • Snoring and sleep apnoea
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Infertility

There are certain drugs and diseases which can cause weight gain, but in most cases it's a combination of environmental, genetic and behavioural factors that cause you to gain weight. For these people, changing your habits can significantly improve your health.

Factors leading to weight gain

: for convenience and financial reasons more people are eating pre-packaged food, fast foods and soft drinks which are high in calories, fat, salt and sugar.

Physical inactivity
: we live more inactive lifestyles than our ancestors:

  • greater use of cars and public transport over walking and cycling
  • the types of jobs we do involve more of us sitting at desks for several hours
  • developments and accessibility in technology make everyday household chores less labour intensive and pastimes such as watching television, surfing the internet and playing computer games more widespread.

: genetically we are all different. Some people may stay thin whilst eating unhealthy food and doing little exercise whereas others will gain weight.

: It can be difficult to change the factors above but what we can do is control the lifestyle choices we make.

Gaining weight, for most people, often happens over time and without people realising. If you were to consume an additional 50 calories per day – just half a biscuit - over one year you could gain an extra 5½ pounds or 2½ kg. Continuing to consume an additional 50 calories ever day, over five years could result in you being over 2 stone or 12½ kg heavier.

Check back in a few weeks' time as we'll have more information and tools about body mass index (BMI) and childhood obesity.

*Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 02 November 2016 15:10

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