The weight problem in England
We live in a world in which we have learnt the harms of body dysmorphic disorder and to celebrate all body types. We have to thank, to a considerable extent, the evolving body positivity moment that has helped diminish unrealistic expectations of what bodies should look like, especially for women.
The need for sensitivity sometimes makes it difficult to approach delicate health issues without appearing judgmental; particularly when it comes to weight management. Obesity is known to predispose individuals to a range of medical conditions related to metabolism, hormones, respiration, fertility, digestion, mental and cardiovascular health. It is also a factor in the development of several types of cancer and has been determined to reduce life expectancy by an average of 3 to 10 years. According to the NHS, it is estimated that obesity and being overweight contribute to at least 1 in every 13 deaths in Europe. More details are available from the NHS website.
Day-to-day problems related to obesity include:
- increased sweating
- difficulty doing physical activity
- often feeling very tired
- joint and back pain
- low confidence and self-esteem
- feeling isolated
The organisation, Public Health England, has provided some useful statitics on the problem of obesity in England. These are provided on the slideshow below. They are especially relevant right now, when obesity has been identified as one of the major risk factors for poor outcomes in the event of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
We shall discuss, at length, the solutions to the obesity problem in another post. However, in light of its scale, it is important to reiterate that obesity has become a public health problem in England, as well as other parts of the world. This suggests that a multi-pronged, public health approach must be adopted towards a solution. We note that the solutions proposed on the NHS website are focused on the individual, with little reference to the wider controls that could be implemented – and are indeed being implemented – at different levels across the spectrum.