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, using your height and body weight. To calculate your BMI, take your weight in kilograms, divided by your height in metres and then square it. Or you can use this handy NHS calculator. This will then give you a number that will tell you which category you are in, from underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or obese.

BMI is not used to diagnose obesity because people who are very muscular can have a high BMI without much fat. But for most people, BMI is a useful indication of whether they’re a healthy weight. A better measure of excess fat is waist size, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9). Generally, men with a waist size of 94cm or more and women with a waist size of 80cm or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.

Obesity is linked with an increased risk of various health conditions, including Type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, depression, types of cancer and joint and back pain.

The best way to try and reduce the effects of obesity is to eat a balanced healthy diet and increase physical activity on a regular basis. This is much easier said than done, but we are here to help, so you can achieve long-term lifestyle changes that will benefit your physical, mental and social wellbeing.