Obesity has reached epidemic levels and has now overtaken smoking as the most important avoidable cause of ill health. By 1994 almost 13% of British men and 16% of women were obese – a doubling since 1980 and this trend has continued. Obesity is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and many other problems such as arthritis, breathing difficulties and depression. Almost 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese at diagnosis although the majority of people are unaware that obesity is a risk factor for diabetes.
What is the difference between obesity and being overweight?
- Obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30
- Over weight is having a BMI of between 25 and 30
- Acceptable weight is having a BMI between 20 and 25
- Underweight is having a BMI of less than 20
BMI is your weight in kilograms divided your height in metres squared (7kg = 14pounds). A much simpler definition of obesity is a waistline over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women!
Looking at the fats we eat is a very important part of healthy eating to reduce the risks of heart disease and to keep blood cholesterol levels down. As people with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease, it is particularly important to understand about the fats in our diet.
Fats provide some of the energy our bodies need but the healthy eating guidelines recommend that we should eat less fat, especially saturated fat in order to reduce this risk of heart disease. This can best be achieved by eating a varied diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grain cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes.
For more information on losing weight, please visit the NHS Choices website: