It is estimated that one in four adults in the UK and 1.9 billion adults worldwide are affected by obesity. According to research published by University College London, if current trends continue, almost a quarter of the world’s population will be obese by 2045. Globally there is an increase in obesity which is partly due to a trend of decreased physical activity and diets containing more energy-dense food.
The most widely used method of classifying obesity is the body mass index (BMI). You can calculate your own – all you need is your height (m) and body weight (kg). The BMI calculation is weight in kg divided by height in metres squared.
18.5 to 24.9 Healthy Weight
25 to 29.9 Overweight
30 to 39.9 Obese
40 or above Severely Obese
It is also important to consider body composition as BMI does not take into account how muscular someone is. Using BMI alone, several top athletes would actually be considered overweight due to their high muscle mass! Therefore a waist circumference measurement is a good additional guide. A waist circumference of above 80cm for women and 94cm for men is associated with an increased risk of health problems associated with obesity.
Obesity is linked with an increased risk of various health conditions, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Types of cancer including breast and bowel
- Joint and back pain
The best way to try and reduce the effects of obesity is to eat a balanced healthy diet, increase physical activity and exercise on a regular basis. This is much easier said than done! Ways to help can include:
- Setting realistic goals
- Involving friends/family
- Joining a weight loss support group
If you are looking to change your diet or exercise habits or want further advice it is recommended to seek further advice from a health professional.
And if you’re living with a long-term condition that is affecting your ability to exercise and you’d like support, why not try reaching out to The Fire Fighters Charity and seeing if we could help?