Not something to be proud of though. The latest statistics from the Scottish Health Survey have revealed that 27% of Scots are now obese. Not just overweight, but obese.
The study covers all adults of working age, or from 16 to 64 years of age and the data is from 2010. The definition of obese is anyone with a body mass index of over 30. BMI is measured by dividing your mass / weight in kg by the square of your height in metres.
Current predictions suggest that by 2030 there will be a staggering number of obese people in Scotland with 4 in every 10 people being classified as obese. This rise in obesity will lead to increased cases of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses which will shorten lifespan and cost the health services a small fortune.
An even more shocking statistic is that 67.8% of all men are now considered overweight.
We need to pause for a moment and take in that statistic. Almost 3 in 4 people are overweight in Scotland. Each person who is overweight is putting their health at risk. They are also likely to be unfit and probably set to remain overweight or even become obese later in life.
The Scottish government have announced an action plan that is set to tackle the root cause of obesity – the obesogenic environment. The latest thinking is that obesity is not a problem that people chose to adopt. People become obese because the environment in which they live dramatically increases the likelihood of them becoming obese.
There are many factors at play that cause you to gain weight. Lack of opportunities to exercise, too much of a reliance on private transport, aggressive food advertising on the street, in the media and in supermarkets, reduction in healthy options and too much reliance on out-of-town supermarkets for shopping, change in leisure activities (too much Facebook, television and computer games). All combined make people more obese.
Scotland is actually planning a series of initiatives to help people get more active and improve their diets:
- The Scottish Government’s Healthy Eating, Active Living: An action plan to
improve diet, increase physical activity and tackle obesity
- The Keep Well initiative
- The Scottish Government’s Route Map for tackling obesity
- The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) national clinical guideline on obesity management
They have developed what they call their Obesity Route Map Action Plan which provides clear and concise information on portion sizes and activity required to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight.
Scotland is also planning to make changes in how food is delivered to the public by working with advertisers and manufacturers to improve the message given. In the same way that changes to tobacco and alcohol advertising are designed to reduce drinking and smoking related health problems, we need to see changes in the food industry to reverse the obesity crisis.
The report on Obesity
You can read the report for yourself as it has been published in as web pages and pdf format on the Scotland.gov.uk website: http://scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/10/25091711/0. Direct link to the pdf: http://scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/361003/0122058.pdf