Nowadays contemporary world faces a great number of various health problems. Obesity is among these problems. It is believed to be one of the greatest challenges of 21 st century (World Health Organization) and “one of the most important medical and public health problems of our time” (Garrow, 1981). Its prevalence has tripled since 1 980s across the whole world (WHO). It is proved that the increase of obesity is more rapidly developing in the United Kingdom that in other parts of Europe (National Audit Office, 2001 ).
According to Sarah Boseley (2014), 67% of men and 57% of women in the UK in 2014 are lassed as overweight or obese. Thus, the UK has the third-highest rate Of excess weight in the Western Europe except for Malta and Iceland and the fifth-highest rate in the world. In this essay, will have a look at how this situation appeared in the 1”1K, find out different ways to eliminate obesity and evaluate their effectiveness. First of all, to understand and evaluate the importance and seriousness of this problem, the real meaning of obesity should be clarified.
So obesity is “an excess accumulation of body fat that predisposes to ill health” (McLannahan and Clifton, 2008). As it says, obesity eads to ill health and now there are good evidences that obesity is a real health hazard. There are four common obesity-related diseases which lead to a high mortality: heart disease, 2 types of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis (National Audit Office, 2001). Around one in every 1 1 deaths in the I-JK is now linked to carrying excess fat, what is about 30 000 deaths a year (Chapman, 2014).
Also, “obesity can affect an individual s ability to work and their underlying mental health”. As studies show, obese people are much less likely to be in employment than those of healthy weight. So, there is no doubt that obese people are often discriminated. Besides, obesity is a really “expensive” problem for the government. The Foresight report in 2007 estimated that direct health care costs attributable to being overweight or obese were 4. 2 billion pounds, potentially rising to 6. billion pounds in 201 5 and up to E9. 7 billion by 2050. A more recent analysis estimated that being overweight or obese costs the National Health Service (NHS) 5. 1 billion pounds per year (National Audit Office, 2012). Altogether, obesity is linked to many social and health problems, so both people and the government cannot gnore the importance of reducing of this issue. As I already outlined, the UK has one of the worst rates of obesity in the world. But how did this situation occur?
What caused the obesity crisis in the United Kingdom? There are many researches which have been made in order to find out the answers to these extremely important questions. Most Of the studies show the same results: the main reasons why people become obese are the food people eat and their lifestyles (NAO, 2001 However, the research of National Health Service says that there are also other causes and they should not be underestimated. NHS figures out next causes. Firstly, it is a poor dieting.
This issue includes all eating and drinking habits, such as drinking alcohol and sugary drinks, which contains too many calories, and overeating for some reasons (like having a starter and dessert in restaurant, having a depression, or it may be encouraged by following friends or relatives who eat large portions). Also, eating junk food and fast food has always been a big problem for the UK citizens. Some people claim that they simply cannot afford to buy healthy food, while others say that fast food is very convenient and fast as they can find it almost everywhere.
This is one of the most important causes, which straightly leads to obesity. Secondly, lack of physical activity is another factor related to obesity. Many people have sedentary lifestyle. They have jobs that involve sitting at a desk for most of the day, prefer cars to walking and cycling, relax after working day by watching TV, browsing the internet or playing computer games, and do rarely exercise. If people are not active enough, they do not use the energy provided by the food they eat, and the extra energy they consume is stored by the body as fat.
Thirdly, the obesity can be caused by genetics. Some people claim there is no point in trying to lose weight because “it runs in my family” or “it’s in my genes”. While there are some rare genetic conditions that can cause obesity, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, there is no reason why most people cannot lose weight. It may be true that certain genetic traits inherited from parents – such as having a large appetite may make losing weight more difficult, but it certainly does not make it impossible.
In many cases, obesity is more to do with environmental factors, such as poor eating habits learned during childhood. Finally, there are also some medical reasons. In some cases, underlying medical conditions may contribute to weight gain. However, if these conditions are properly diagnosed and treated they should pose less of a barrier to weight loss. Thus, there are many different causes why people gain weight and become obese. They all are individual and strongly connected at the same time.
There is no doubt that government should pay attention to all of them and create strategies to reduce all the causes, which lead to obesity. Over the last years the United Kingdom has taken many measures in an attempt to tackle its obesity problem. According to Campbell and Malik (2013), Academy of Medical Royal Colleges suggests 10-point action plan to help end IJKs status as ‘fat man of Europe’: An experimental 20% tax on sugary soft drinks for at least a year, like that in operation in parts of the US, to see what effect it has on sales.
The potential El bn annual tax yield could help fund an increase in weight management programmes. Local councils to limit the number of fast food outlets allowed to operate near schools, colleges, leisure centres and other places where children gather, to end the “paradox” Of schools that try to get pupils to eat healthy lunches having their efforts undermined by ouncil-licensed burger vans outside their gates. NHS staff to routinely talk to overweight patients about their eating and exercise habits at every appointment and offer them help, under a policy of “making every contact count”. The NHS to spend at least E300m over the next three years to tackle the serious shortage in weight management programmes so many more patients with weight problems can be referred and helped “in a supportive and sensitive manner”. An expansion of bariatric surgery for more severe obesity, from the current total of about 8,000 NHS operations a year, to help hose most at risk of dying. Hospitals to adopt the same nutritional standards for the food they serve patients and staff that already apply in state schools in England, and an end to fast food outlets and vending machines selling unhealthy products on hospital premises. Health visitors to advise new parents how to feed their children properly, to avoid them getting hooked on sweet or fatty foods while still very young. All schools to have to serve healthy food in their canteens, including academies and free schools, which the education secretary, Michael Gove, has exempted from the equirement that applies in all other state schools. A ban on television advertisements for foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat before the 9pm watershed, as current restrictions to minimise children’s exposure to them have not worked.
These strategies were endorsed by many influent people and doctors. Stephenson Group, for instance, told the Guardian the 20% tax increase on sugary soft drinks was justified because they represented “useless calories” and were “the ultimate bad food. You’re just consuming neat sugar. Your body didn’t evolve to handle this kind of thing. ” To conclude, besity is one of the most important and serious health problems of our time. Its prevalence is growing day by day across the whole world.
The United Kingdom is among the worst obesity-related countries in Western Europe and this condition is rapidly reaching epidemic proportions there. Combating obesity is now one of the most relevant issues for both people and the government. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity habits. Also, it is vital for parents to teach their children to eat healthy from the very childhood. I strongly believe that if everyone evaluates he real seriousness of this problem, the percentage of obesity will decrease and the world will finally cope with this epidemic.