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Posts tagged ‘overweight’

Being overweight ‘may be less unhealthy’

Overweight seen as the norm, says chief medical officer

The number of obese and overweight people has been rising in recent decades


Being overweight is increasingly seen as the norm, England’s chief medical officer says.

In her annual report on the state of health, Dame Sally Davies said this was concerning, pointing out many people did not recognise they had a problem.

Parents of overweight children were also failing to spot the signs too, she said.

Dame Sally blamed the way weight was being portrayed by the media and clothes industry.

“I have long been concerned that being underweight is often portrayed as the ideal weight, particularly in the fashion industry.

“Yet I am increasingly concerned that society may be normalising being overweight.

“Larger mannequins are being introduced into clothes shops and “size inflation” means that clothes with the same size label have become larger in recent decades.

“And news stories about weight often feature pictures of severely obese people, which are unrepresentative of the majority of overweight people.”

‘Sugar tax’

Dame Sally also reiterated her belief that a sugar tax may be necessary to combat obesity.

At the start of March she told the Health Select Committee it may be needed, although she hoped not.

This caused some controversy as the government’s approach has been characterised by working with industry to get them to make food and drink products healthier.

In her report she says this should continue, but if it fails to deliver a tax should be “considered”.

She children and adults of all ages are consuming too much sugar.

Nearly two thirds of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese – about double the numbers in the early 1990s.

But research shows that half of men, a third of women and over three quarters of parents do not recognise weight problems.

Professor Kevin Fenton, of Public Health England, said he agreed with Dame Sally’s comments.

“We share her concerns. Overweight and obesity costs the NHS over £5bn each year and is entirely preventable.”

via BBC News – Overweight seen as the norm, says chief medical officer.

8 in 10 overweight diabetics say condition under control despite high blood sugar levels

File photo: A nurse checks readings on a glucometer after taking a blood sample. AFP/Noah Seelam


A new survey on some 400 overweight diabetics in Singapore shows that more than eight in 10 say their condition is under control, but many had blood sugar readings that were above the optimal range.

SINGAPORE: A new survey on some 400 overweight diabetics in Singapore shows that more than eight in 10 say their condition is under control, but many had blood sugar readings that were above the optimal range.

The survey was conducted by healthcare company Abbott.

And it also found that nearly one in five did not know their blood sugar level taken at their last medical check-up.

Poor management of diabetes can lead to complications such as kidney failure, coronary heart disease and stroke.

The survey aims to help doctors better identify the problems faced by overweight diabetic patients.

Dr Kevin Tan, vice-president of Diabetic Society of Singapore, said: “Those who are overweight, face — in the management of their condition — meal planning, food choices, diet control and weight management. So it helps us to understand our patients better.”

– CNA/nd

via 8 in 10 overweight diabetics say condition under control despite high blood sugar levels – Channel NewsAsia.

Over 28% of five-year-olds in Wales overweight

Child eating a biscuit
Health experts say young children still have time to adopt a healthy lifestyle

Over 28% of five-year-olds in Wales are overweight, with 12.5% of children classed as obese, new figures from Public Health Wales show.

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf have the highest number of overweight children, while the Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire have the least.

The problem in Wales is worse than England and Scotland.

Health experts said the figures were “worrying” but children still had time to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The heights and weights of 29,400 reception age children were collected across Wales in the 2011-12 academic year as part of Public Health Wales’ first Child Measurement Programme report.

The results showed that seven out of 10 children aged four to five had a healthy weight but 28% were classed as overweight or obese.

The report said the figures were “significantly higher” than in every region in England, where on average 23% of children were overweight, with 9.5% classed as being obese.

They were also higher than in Scotland, where 21% of children were overweight, of which 9.8% were obese – although children in Scotland were measured close to their sixth birthday.

The report also pointed to a “clear association between deprivation and obesity among four to five-year-olds in Wales”.

Dr Ciaran Humphreys, consultant in public health for Public Health Wales, said it was the first time they had been given a clear picture of how children in Wales were growing – and it was a picture that caused concern.

He said change was needed across society.

“This can be anything from making our communities more pedestrian and bicycle friendly to reducing access to unhealthy fast food near schools,” he said.

“As with most health risks, the sooner they are tackled the easier they are to address and the greater the long-term benefits.”

He added: “Encouraging healthy eating and regular exercise at a young age provides children with an excellent start and helps them grow up to be healthy adults.”

In Merthyr Tydfil, 34% of four to five-year-olds were overweight or obese, while in neighbouring Rhondda Cynon Taf, the figure was nearly 32%.

In contrast, in the more affluent areas of Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan, the figures were 22% and 25% respectively.

Dr Ruth Hussey, the chief medical officer for Wales, said the information on children’s growth would help the Welsh government tackle the problem.

“Together, we must work for a healthy, active and resilient community in Wales where all children have the best start in life,” she said.

Last month, a group chaired by Paralympic multi-gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said that PE should be given the same status as maths, English, science and Welsh in schools to help tackle obesity in Wales.

The Welsh government had asked them to look into how schools could increase levels of physical activity in children and young people.

The group said elevating PE to be a core part of the curriculum would mean more time was devoted to it.

BBC News - Over 28% of five-year-olds in Wales overweight

via BBC News – Over 28% of five-year-olds in Wales overweight.

Preventing undernutrition and overweight


WHO issues guidance on emerging double threat of childhood obesity and undernutrition in low- and middle-income countries

Note for media

5 JUNE 2013 | GENEVA/NEW YORK – Many low- and middle-income countries are neglecting overweight and obesity as major health threats, with policies in place to tackle undernutrition, but lack policies to halt the growing burden of diseases due to the rise of overweight, and obesity, according to new information released by WHO today.

More than 75% of overweight children live in developing countries with the prevalence in Africa almost doubling in the last 20 years. Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, with an increased risk of diabetes and other diseases.

WHO’s Essential Nutrition Actions

To help countries close these policy gaps, WHO has issued a consolidated package of 24 Essential Nutrition Actions, which outline the most effective ways countries can improve their peoples’ nutritional status by preventing both undernutrition and overweight. There are many factors during pregnancy and infancy that can affect an older child’s and an adult’s weight.

Interventions include:

  • improve nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding women;
  • encourage early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, then continued breastfeeding up to 2 years;
  • promote appropriate solid foods for young children; and
  • provide micronutrient supplements and fortified foods, when needed.

“To avoid a massive explosion of nutrition problems in the next generation, policymakers urgently need to give more attention to improving the nutritional status of pregnant women and adolescent girls who will become mothers of the next generation.”

Dr Francesco Branca, Director, WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development

“Increasingly, we find overweight children living in countries where undernutrition is also still an issue,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. “While it is vital to maintain efforts to reduce undernutrition, the world needs to do much more to prevent and care for the growing numbers of people that are overweight or obese and living in low- and middle-income countries.”

Causes of overweight and undernutrition

These conditions – undernutrition, obesity and overweight – are forms of malnutrition with their causes and consequences closely linked to inadequacies in the food system. A food system that does not deliver a sufficient amount of quality food can lead both to poor growth and to excess weight gain. A child who has grown poorly in his first years of life may turn into a short but overweight adolescent and then later in life, develop chronic disease as an adult.

“To avoid a massive explosion of nutrition problems in the next generation, policymakers urgently need to give more attention to improving the nutritional status of pregnant women and adolescent girls who will become mothers of the next generation,” adds Dr Branca.

Essential Nutrition Actions address many health issues

Many policies to address the other half of the “double burden” of malnutrition – obesity and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke – are much further behind, especially in Africa and South-East Asia. And even when policies to address obesity exist at a national level, they are often not implemented at provincial or district level. Only one third of surveyed countries regulate the marketing of foods to children, and only a few have taken measures to reduce salt or transfats in foods.

Focusing on these essential nutrition actions, countries can reduce infant and child mortality, improve growth and development, and improve productivity. Countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Peru and India’s second most populous state, Maharashtra, have achieved such successes as a result of implementing these actions.

Worldwide, more than 100 million children under five years of age are underweight; 165 million are stunted i.e. have a low height for their age (which is a better indicator of chronic undernutrition). An estimated 35% of all deaths among children under five are associated with undernutrition. At the same time, some 43 million children under five are overweight or obese.

“With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals less than 1000 days away, these reports provide countries and development partners with urgently needed analysis of what still needs to be done and consolidated guidance on how to get there,” says Dr Branca.

A Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition is being published on 6 June. It includes an analysis of the impact of various nutrition interventions on the health of women and children. The Series also gives an estimate of what it would cost to fill some of the gaps identified in the Global Nutrition Policy Review ($12.6 billion per year including all supplies and staff costs).

Notes to Editors

In May 2012, the World Health Assembly adopted a series of nutrition-related goals which countries are working towards achieving by 2025:

  • 40% reduction in the number of children under 5 who are stunted (low height-for-age);
  • 50% reduction in the number of women of reproductive age with anaemia;
  • 30% reduction in the number of babies with low birth weight;
  • no increase in the proportion of children who are overweight;
  • increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months to at least 50% (currently 38%); and
  • reduce and maintain the proportion of children who are wasted (low weight-for-height) to less than 5% (currently 8%).

Expert warns comfort eating can become a form of addiction


PETALING JAYA: Comfort eating may be a way to “de-stress” for some Malaysians, but an expert has warned that the habit is similar to getting addicted to drugs or computer games.

“You want to make yourself feel good. It’s like doing drugs or playing computer games or even watching three to four movies in a row,” said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Health Psychology Programme lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Alvin Ng Lai Oon.

Comfort eating is when one consumes food to relieve stress.

It is sometimes referred to as “emotional eating”.

He said there could also be a link between comfort eating and being overweight or obese.

“Comfort food is a part of life and people use it to regulate their emotions.

“If they cannot manage their emotions in other ways, it can lead to overeating or unnecessary eating,” he said.

“The food they eat may not be healthy but it makes them feel better. So, there is a higher risk of being overweight or obese,” said Dr Ng, adding that it was also related to people who were underweight or had a normal body weight.

He said an indication that someone was into comfort eating was when they had the urge to eat or “feel bad” if they did not, or had irrational thoughts like eating out of fear their mothers would disown them.

Another indication is needing to eat within a short period after having a full meal.

“They claim to feel hungry or have low blood glucose levels when it is not necessarily true, but it gives them a good reason to eat.”

There are currently no local studies to show the number of people who comfort eat.

Dr Ng said most people did not see it as being a problem until they became overweight or obese.

He advised those who sought comfort in food to get counselling to overcome their emotional problems or have a network of friends and family who are “appointed” to tell the person that he or she is comfort eating and to stop doing so.

“It is not advisable to substitute comfort food with normal meals as it leads to sabotaging efforts to maintain or lose weight.

“It would be better to do physical activities than eat,” said Dr Ng.

Meanwhile, Nutrition Society of Malaysia president Dr Tee E Siong said chocolate and ice cream were two of the most common comfort foods.

“I suppose if one finds that a specific food can bring comfort, it is not a real problem,” he said.

“It is important though to explain to the individual the dangers of excessive consumption of certain high-calorie foods.”

Read More: The Star

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