Tackling the issue of obesity and malnutrition has become a national priority in the United Kingdom.
Rising numbers of people who are obese and overweight threaten to trigger an overwhelming surge in cases of cancer within the next 20 years, as revealed in a report by several health groups.
If the trend continues, the UK will be seeing at least 670,000 additional cases of cancer in the country, and almost three in every four adults could be obese or overweight by 2035, the report said.
Previous studies have revealed that being overweight or obese increases the chances of a person to develop any of the 10 types of cancer.
Experts from Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum also predicted millions of new cases of heart diseases, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes will turn out due to the increasing cases of obesity. Both groups call on the government to create a national strategy to fight obesity.
The Impact On Social Care And Health Services
According to the report, rising cases of obesity-related diseases will cost the National Health Service more than £2.5 billion or about $3.6 billion annually.
The report said high obesity rates will contribute to 4.6 million new cases of Type 2 diabetes and 1.6 million extra cases of cardiovascular diseases in the country.
In 2013 alone, about 440,000 cases of new diseases were accounted to obesity. Of this number, 257,000 were cases of Type 2 diabetes.
In terms of gender differences, obesity will affect 76 percent of men, while it will affect 69 percent of women in the country.
How The Government Should Deal With The Problem
The country's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said in December that obesity is a threat that carries the same dangers to the nation as terrorism and natural disasters.
"Action is required across all of society to prevent obesity and its associated problems for shortening women's lives and affecting their quality of life," she said.
The current Cancer UK report suggested that small changes in lifestyle would bring meaningful improvements in public health and finances.
The report said reducing the cases of obesity and malnutrition by just 1 percent every year below estimated trends would save the NHS £300 million or about $438 million in 2035. Experts listed down several solutions to reduce obesity rates:
– Limiting online marketing of junk foods and unhealthy drinks
– Implementing a sugar tax of 20p a liter on sugar-sweetened drinks
– Placing a 6:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. ban on TV advertisements that market unhealthy drinks and food and target children
– Making food with high levels of salt, sugar and fat more expensive while increasing the affordability of healthy alternatives
– Improving people's access to recreational facilities
– Encouraging people to walk and cycle more often
– Enhancing the labels on food products by extending nutritional color coding to the front of the pack
Chef and healthy food advocate Jamie Oliver said today's generation of children live in a society where junk food is cheap, accessible, widely advertised and full of sugar, making it difficult to teach them to make better choices for their health.
"If governments take children's health more seriously and use education to inspire them, we could have a huge impact on their health and well-being," said Oliver.
How To Lose Weight Naturally
Luckily, there are several ways to help you lose weight. You know the usual: exercise regularly, eat healthy, have enough sleep, etc., but to truly make your weight loss count and avoid the complications that come with obesity, here are several things you can do:
1. List down all the food you eat during the week. Keeping a food journal will help you become mindful of what you eat. You should also watch out for the food you eat during weekends. A past study conducted by the University of North Carolina found that people eat 115 extra calories during Saturdays and Sundays.
Solution: Cut down on calories from sauces, dressings, drinks, and snacks. This could spell the difference between your weight loss and weight gain.
2. Find an online weight loss buddy. Having someone to support you in your weight loss goals could definitely motivate you. A University of Vermont research found that those with online buddies and are enrolled in Internet weight loss programs sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face.
3. Stick to water. Throughout the day, drinking water will help you reduce your calories. Drinking sugary drinks accounts to an added 245 calories per day. That's an estimated 90,000 calories or 25 pounds per year.
4. Walk five minutes for every two hours. If you're stuck sitting behind a desk all day, walking for at least five minutes every two hours will definitely help you. You could also extend your walking time to 30 to 45 minutes. Brisk walking every day could help you lose 30 pounds in a year.
5. Find a mantra. Pessimism will only hinder you from achieving your goals. Experts said focusing on positive thoughts such as "I can lose weight," or "I will get out for a walk today," will help you believe that you can do it and achieve your weight loss goals.
Photo : Robert Anthony Provost | Flickr