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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    World Obesity Day: Time to tackle a growing problem

    World Obesity Day: Time to tackle a growing problem

    Posted on February 22nd, 2024

    The UK has a health crisis on its hands. Waistlines are growing and obesity rates are rocketing. In fact, according to the WHO Global Health Observatory, 27.8% of the UK population is obese – that’s one of the highest rates in Europe. And the problem is only getting worse, with researchers predicting there will be 11 million more obese adults in the UK by 2030. To mark World Obesity Day on 4th March, the health experts at YourGP reveal the reasons behind the rise and offer advice on how to take action.

    Defining obesity

    Obesity can be defined as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. It results from too many calories being stored in the body as fat and it can lead to a range of serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) says at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

    As well as the physical ramifications, obesity can also contribute to poor mental health and lead to conditions such as depression.

    Why is the UK getting larger?

    Obesity is a complex issue and can be linked to a variety of factors including genetics, health conditions such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), and some medications.

    However, the most obvious contributing factor is a poor diet. An average diet in the UK today is too high in fat, sugar and salt, and does not include enough fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains or healthy protein. According to the Financial Times, “An increased reliance on cheap, ultra-processed food, which accounts for 57 per cent of what Britons eat according to a 2019 study conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo, suggests that the health crisis is unlikely to change anytime soon without intervention.”

    Lack of exercise is another key contributing factor. According to a report by the European Commission, 37% of Brits said they never exercise or play sport. This is despite recommendations from health officials that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.

    Food for thought

    If you’re currently struggling with obesity, it is of utmost importance that you consult a medical professional before embarking upon any weight loss journey.

    The first line of action would be to look at your lifestyle and assess how many calories you are currently eating per day. The recommended advice is for women to aim for around 2,000 calories per day and for men to aim for around 2,500 calories per day.

    Next, look at where those calories are coming from. Are they mostly from unhealthy foods such as processed meat, refined sugar, red meat and sugary drinks, for example? If so, it’s time to switch up your diet to ensure you’re including a variety of nutritious fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.

    It is also essential to that you drink plenty of water. People often mistakenly assume they are hungry when in fact they are thirsty, so aim for 2l of water per day and get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before every meal.

    Assess your lifestyle

    Other things to consider include how much you move (or don’t move) on a day-to-day basis. If you find yourself sitting for long periods of time – either at a desk at work, or watching TV in the evening at home – make an effort to get up and move about at regular intervals.

    Poor sleep hygiene can also be a contributing factor to obesity, so try to prioritise getting into a good sleep routine. Try to go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, and aim for 8 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep.

    Finally, stress is believed to be another contributing factor to obesity, so take steps to decompress after work, for example, whether that be through gentle activities such as yoga and mindfulness, or connecting with nature by going for regular walks in the great outdoors.

    If you need a little extra help

    If you’re struggling to make positive changes, help is on hand at YourGP. Our Weight Management Service is led by our lifestyle specialist GPs, who take a comprehensive approach to your health and wellbeing. Their knowledge and expertise provide patients with the optimal balance of medical screening and potential prescription medication, alongside nutrition, exercise and psychological coaching. Make an appointment today and we’ll issue you with a pre-screening questionnaire and assess what the right course of action is for you.

    Your weight loss journey starts here

    If you’re worried about your weight and the potential effects this could be having on your health, make an appointment at YourGP. You can choose a date and time that suits you via our simple online booking system, or you can email Alternatively, you call us on 0131 225 5656 or arrange a call back via our website.


    World Obesity Day: Time to tackle a growing problem

    Needed to arrange an offshore medical fairly quickly and they fitted me in the same day. The entire experience from initial enquiry to consultation was first class! I would highly recommend YourGP in Edinburgh to anyone looking for superb service and professional healthcare. I will certainly be using them from now on.

    Stuart F

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.