Why aren’t we able to tackle the obesity problem in this country. We’re not the only ones. America, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia are equal or behind the UK in the obesity fight. Obesity and the illnesses it causes are well documented on TV and online. Why isn’t the message coming through. The information is there.
Culture shifts toward fast foods has had a huge impact on our eating habits. Thirty to forty years ago, fast food was only accessible in fish and chip shops. McDonald's was only starting out in the UK then.
Apps like ‘Hungary House’ make it so easy to order food. One click of the button on your mobile, and your done. You only have to make the effort to get off the sofa and walk to the front door. Such hard work!!!
Eating habits are the key to healthy diets. It starts from the day you are born. What food your parents introduce to you sets up your eating habits for life. If you have a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and meat early on, you become accustomed to that. Going the other way, if you’re introduced to lots of sweet high sugar foods at a young age, this becomes your norm. Sugar, of course has that added attraction for kids. The sugar rush as well the sweet taste are too hard to resist. The food markets know this and go out of their way to tempt everyone, especially kids. The sweets are always near the checkout, at a height where it right under the noses of youngsters.
What can be done?
We are creatures of habit. It’s in our nature. Changing addictive habits like sugar or smoking are not easy to do. Adverts focused on the harmful effects of smoking changed people’s outlook. Stark pictures of blood clotting from the end of a cigarette brought the unhealthy effects home.
This kind of advert applied to high sugar and salt intake could be powerful. .. . but it has to be a sustained campaign. The campaign against smoking has gone on for over 20 years. The 'truth’ campaign aimed at eliminating teen smoking in the United States started in 1999. The teen smoking rate was 23% back then. In 2016 the number was down to 6%.
The Government needs to invest in the anti-sugar campaign. The NHS face even more pressure dealing with patients with food related illness.
With the population’s steady increase, the next 50 years could be a nightmare for healthcare. It can be avoided, but only with the will to do something about it.
What NHS England Has To Say
“Obesity is the new smoking”, said Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England. “It’s the slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs”.
Public Health England say Obese children are more likely to become overweight adults. They estimate two thirds of adults and a quarter of children between 2 and 10 years old are overweight or obese. Simon Stevens goes on to say “If as a nation we keep piling on the pounds around the waistline, we’ll be piling on the pounds in terms of future taxes needed just to keep the NHS afloat.
Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, musuloskeletal disorders, cancers, depression and anxiety. Serverely obese individuals are three times more likely to require social care than those with normal weight. This includes hospitalisation and the associated health and social care costs.
The NHS estimated the cost of obesity for 2006/7 to be £5.1 billion. The costs account for obesity medication, increasing use of bariatiric surgery and new equipment to accommodate larger people.
Education Is Key
My son is a personal trainer. He runs what are known as 'Weight Change Classes’. It’s interesting what he has to say from his experience delivering these classes.
He says “We like to keep a variety of exercises to keep the interest there. One week, it will be pull ups and press ups, shoulder and leg press exercises. The next week more cardio based with some free weights like dumb bells and kettle bells. Another week could be kettle bells and TRX in a circuit training format. It’s still weight based, but you keep the intensity up, and keep the heart-rate high.
He says about diet, “I really try to educate them about how bad sugar is, and too much ‘carby’ foods..too much pasta, rice, chocolate sweets, fizzy drinks. The number one reason for obesity is sugar. I don’t monitor and measure what they eat, but give them an understanding of what they put into their body. Whether they change their diet or not is up to them. I just plant the seed in their mind, give them the knowledge they need, so they have a choice to either follow it or not”.
Do you measure their weight loss?
Yeah, we do weigh-ins regularly. Tpically, the clients that do see improvements are the ones that stick to the program. I’ve got clients that have listened to what I’ve advised and they’ve seen good results. At the same time I’ve given advise to other clients, and they’ve found it more challenging to stick to.
How long does it take to lose weight?
Some clients lose up to 2 lbs per week. Some can even loose 4-5 lbs per week.
A basic target of 2 lbs per week over a period of 3-4 months is a huge loss. About 1¾ stones.
Do you look at their fat percentage?
Yes, very important to look at fat percentage, not just losing body weight. If you weigh 60 kilograms, you’ve got to ask the question, 60 kilograms of what? You can break that down into body fat, muscle mass, bone density, and water retention. We can measure all that, so you actually see all the parts that make up the whole. So we focus much more on the body fat, because you might lose muscle mass. That would be unhealthy. This is why we focus on the weight training to hold onto muscle mass.. that and encourage high protein intake to keep muscle mass.
So after say 6 months, surely your clients should be able to go out on their own without your assistance?
Sure, 6 months down the line, you would have learnt so much, experimented with different exercises, recorded the exercises, so you have them to follow. Over 6 months you would have done these exercises so many times, it would be like second nature..So after this much time you don’t need to be babied any more, you know what to do, you can go out on your own, so it’s kind of a lesson for life.
Do you encourage people to starve themselves to lose weight?
“Oh no, starving yourself is a quick fix but is quite damaging to the body. You have to look at food like it’s fuel. If you put wood on a fire, it’s going to keep burning. The fire burns out, your metabolism dies down. Keep the metabolism high and you’ll be burning calories all day. Look at body builders, they’re constantly burning calories, but they’re never hungry and they have hardly any body fat”.
To keep weight down is something that takes dedication, self-determination and self-discipline.
With a little help from informed professionals, it is very doable. It takes self drive to achieve weight loss goals. Today there is so much help from places like YouTube and online articles. You never have to feel like your on your own with weight loss. To keep healthy into old age is worth it. You are much happier. We have never been so informed about health as we are today. There should be less obesity than there was 30 years ago, not more!!
Health and Fitness
Rick Hardcastle (Article and Web Copywriter)
Here is an example of one of my recent articles written for a Personal Training Blog.
Ageing and Exercise
Joseph Pilates Thinking and Exercises
Joseph Pilates said “the spine was the key to physical and emotional well being. Neutral spine alignment is everything.” He went on to say “If your spine is stiff at 30, you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.”
Pilates develops deep core muscles in the back and abdomen to support the spine. Many people including myself, can adhere to his exercise system. It has true benefits to health as we grow older.
He was so ahead of his time. On a global scale, only over the last 25 years have we really taken onboard his ideas. His exercise system is the way forward for older people to enjoy life into their later years. It can transform your all round mobility, strength, and posture well into your 80's and beyond.
If you take a look on YouTube at some footage of Joseph Pilates exercising in his later years, you can only be awe inspired by his physicality and mobility.
Ageing and Exercise
You do not have to fall apart as you get older.. It is very possible to slow down the ageing process.
When we pass the age of 50, our bodies face a variety of anatomical and physiological changes. We can reverse or slow down these changes through regular physical activity.
We are at our strongest and most powerful in our thirties. This remains constant up to our fifties.
After this, we loose around 10oz of muscle mass every year. By around 70, men and women will face a 40 per cent reduction in muscle mass.
This muscle loss is due partly to less production of testosterone. The loss of muscle also includes fast-twitch muscle fibres (muscles used for quick movement). The risk of falling in elderly people is linked to this combination of decreased fast-twitch muscle and overall muscle mass.
Connective tissue becomes less elastic with age too, which explains why many elderly people complain of muscle stiffness.
Resistance exercises for older people sustain or increase muscle strength, elasticity and muscle mass.
As we get older, muscle mass reduces whilst body fat increases. As we said earlier, this decline in muscle mass is due to less production of testosterone. Because muscle uses more calories than fat, the combination of muscle loss and fat increase slows down your metabolic rate.
Aerobic and resistance training can increase the muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the better the metabolic rate. Using these exerisises stops the onset of weight gain in the form of fat.
Changes in diet can also enhance your body composition in the ageing process. Increased protein intake combined with reduced carbohydrates, will help maintain muscle mass and reduce body fat. Unless you reduce your calorie intake with age, you will naturally gain weight in the form of fat.
As we get older, our bodies weaken. Known as 'Kyphosis', the shoulders round and the head comes further forward.
Weight-bearing exercise or resistance training helps keep the skeletal and muscular system strong, thus preserving your back in the correct position for a good body posture.
This is the term used to describe how we walk. With age, the speed and stride length decreases. The pelvis can tilt and ankle movement can reduce.
Rick Hardcastle (Web Marketing Copywriter)
Strength and Fitness