It comes as a surprise to many that we don’t as a population, actually eat more calories than our parents or grandparents and that many studies show a market decline in calorie intake over the last few decades. Nor has there been any significant change in the genetic pool. However we have seen a dramatic increase in the proportion of our population who are overweight or obese.
A national study found that 48% of men and 34% of women are overweight or obese and other, more recent studies suggest that the prevalence is continuing to rise.
The health, economic and psychological costs of overweight and obesity are very high. Overweight and obese people experience greater morbidity in addition to other social problems, for example obese young men can
expect to die 12 years earlier than the average death rate.
Being overweight and obese can increase the risk for many serious health problems: heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and respiratory problems, among others. A recent study has shown that more than 20% of young children are either overweight or obese. Childhood and adolescent obesity occurs when a child has too much body fat. Obesity is usually caused by both over-eating and a lack of exercise. Levels of childhood obesity are
increasing at alarming rates, especially in Australia. The older and more obese a child is, strongly influences their likelihood of becoming an obese adult. About 80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults.
There are steps to manage obesity and these are:
- Nutrition Advice – weight loss programs and diets are not effective. Nutrition advice will help change your behaviour towards food.
- Increased Activity – low intensity exercise, such as walking, weight training, swimming, cross training.
- Prevention – seminars and educational programs can improve knowledge about obesity and its prevention.