Weighing up those healthier options
BIG portions, stress and negative peer pressure are often factors ascribed to people who are overweight or obese.
Realistic targets and healthy eating are among the many good bits of advice on hand. Now a health foundation has come up with a guide to help overweight and obese people navigate through the numerous factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle balance.
Official NHS figures show 57 per cent of the population in Swansea are overweight or obese, while in Neath Port Talbot the figure is 60 per cent.
The cost to the taxpayer of dealing with the consequences in Wales is now estimated at £86 million a year.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Swansea-based GP Dr Ian Millington said the nation was stacking up problems for the future.
"It's a problem for us all, not just doctors," he said.
"I don't think it (obesity) is seen by many families as a problem. We tend to see children getting fatter, but it does not take a doctor to see that — if you walk through Swansea you can see that."
The British Nutrition Foundation's new guide, Small Changes: Big Gains!, has divided different factors affecting the way we approach food into seven broad categories.
The categories are social, psychological, eating and drinking, physical activity, environment, physiology and media.
Within each category are several bits of advice under a "more" and "less" column.
For example, under the psychological category, the foundation's guide advises more diary-keeping of what you eat and all activity you do for a week. It advises less emotional eating — in other words focusing on snacks that are healthy to avoid the temptation of unhealthy alternatives.
Bridget Benelam, senior nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: "Studies have identified at least 108 different factors that influence our ability to maintain a healthy weight. So there are lots of different options to choose from in terms of making changes in our behaviour that could have a positive impact on our health.
"We are all very different and the way that we behave in relation to external and internal stimuli varies considerably. So, what works for some people may not for others."
She said choosing just one each from the "more" and "less" columns under the seven categories in the guide could increase people's chances of successful weight loss "considerably".
The British Nutrition Foundation describes itself as a registered charity that attracts funding from sources including contracts with Government departments. Its members include Asda, McDonald's, Marks and Spencer, Slimming World and Warburtons.
Health professionals are meeting in London at a British Nutrition Foundation conference to discuss how to influence positive behaviour change in eating habits.
Public Health Wales, which provides advice on behalf of the NHS, describes obesity as a major public health concern.
Obesity is when a person is carrying too much body fat for their height and sex. The most widely used way to measure this is the body mass index (BMI).
Obesity can cause breathlessness, difficulty sleeping, feeling tired, back and joint pain. Some people may also experience psychological problems such as low self-esteem, poor self-image, low confidence levels, which may lead to depression. As a result obesity can impair a person's quality of life.
Longer term health problems include coronary heart disease and stroke which are more common in obesity as a result of high blood pressure and a greater risk of high cholesterol which leads to narrowing of the arteries. People who are obese are also more likely to develop type two diabetes and some types of cancer, such as that of the breast and colon.
Schools meanwhile should teach children about fatty foods as part of the national curriculum, doctors' leaders have said. They said nutritional education should be a mandatory part of children's schooling.
The British Medical Association's annual conference in Bournemouth heard that a third of children were overweight or obese.
BMA member Dr Louise Harding said: "The UK has a weight problem. It is big and it is getting bigger.
"Overweight children have a tendency to continue gaining weight and become the obese and morbidly obese adults of the future, damaging their health.
"We need to start teaching our children about their food, where it comes from and what's in it.
"How can they make healthy choices if they just don't have the information? This is so important it needs to be on our national curriculum. If we don't, we are letting down the next generation."
Last month national newspapers reported the case of morbidly obese Georgia Davis, 19, who had to be cut out of her house in Aberdare and rushed to hospital.
Her weight was claimed to be in excess of 60-stone, putting her life in danger.
It has been reported that has begun to shed weight, and is due to spend time at an obesity clinic in Swansea's Morriston Hospital.