Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Obesity, Social Issues, England, Health, Education, Study, Children, Family

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/30

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The present condition of obesity in the UK indicates that there was a sharp and substantial rise in levels of obesity in adults as well as children between 1993 and 2011. These include increases in the Body Mass Indices (BMI) within the obese and overweight ranges as well as an increase in the number of persons with raised waist circumferences. Given the source of these findings, it is significant to consider the findings very seriously. Numerous other studies provide more information to support the above claims, such as by the studies on levels of childhood obesity by Leeds Metropolitan University, as well as adult obesity levels by the University of Glasgow. Although recent publications by the Health & Social Care Information Centre indicate a decrease in the cases of obesity in children in their final primary school years, obesity levels are still high.

Literature review

It is possible to deal with obesity for those who are already obese, through increased exercise, as well as a better diet (WHO 2006). On the other hand, the health consequences for obese people are severe. According to studies, Obesity decreases life expectancy by about ten years, and it is related to high risks of developing type two diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, coronary artery, and hypertension (James 1998). The causes of obesity are linked to a fundamental imbalance between the intake of energy and energy use (Jade 1999). The World Health Organization has identified that a decline in physical exercise together with an increased nutrient-poor foods that have high sugar levels and saturated fats, energy-dense consumption have resulted in rising obesity rates since the 1980 in the United Kingdom, the Middle East, China, Eastern Europe, some parts of North America and Australasia. The equilibrium between ingestion of calorie and energy expenditure decides the weight of an individual. If an individual ingests more calories than he/she metabolizes, the individual puts on weight as the body stores additional fat. If an individual ingests fewer calories than he/she metabolizes, he/she drops weight. Thus, the most frequent basis of overweight and obesity include physical immobility as well as overeating (National Institute of health and Clinical Excellence 2006).
Evidence supports the idea that high-fat diets override regular metabolic mechanisms. It is assumed that readily accessible highly edible foods encourage overconsumption and thus, obesity is because of gluttony (Ludwig, et al., 2006). To some extent, this may be true. But, other studies have demonstrated that there are physiological causes of obesity such as genetics (Unger and Scherer 2010). For instance, some studies have indicated that metabolic elements are involved in the development of obesity and being overweight is not a result of overeating (Jade 1999). The environment affects the development of obesity, for example; Individuals in a certain environment have variability in body size that is affected by genetically determined responses to that environment. Individuals with low metabolic rates are more likely to become obese. In addition, persons with a high 24-hour respiratory quotient are prone to gain weight than those with low respiratory quotient. Other studies show that several genes are related to the development of obesity (Kishi and JK 2005).
Although an increasing number of studies indicate inactive lifestyle as the main cause of obesity, few of these studies have offered a measure of whether changes in lifestyle have decreased the amount of energy we use. Research indicates that individuals have always been fairly inactive, and although activities such as TV watching, as well as computer games playing, are new things, their effect on overall energy expenditure has been minimal. Thus, this demonstrates that if people are not less active in the modern world, then they must be overeating (Prentice and Jebb 1995), which suggests that attempting to increase energy expenditure through exercise is not the best way to tackle obesity (Food Standard Agency 2008). The best way seems to be to decrease caloric intake.
A study conducted by the UK health & Social Care Information Centre about levels of obesity in the UK concludes that an increase in the number of persons with BMI above normal ranges was experience between 1993 and 2011 was observed. In addition, the research underlined that approximately 31 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls aged between two and fifteen years were categorized either as obese or overweight. Moreover, the research highlighted that an increase in waist circumference is over BMI increases measurements, which suggests an increase in harmful central obesity (Department of Health 2009). These figures by the Health & Social Care Information Centre are supported by other findings. For instance, the Health Survey for England (2010) suggested that about 26 percent of adults above 16 years are viewed as obese. The survey further indicated that the percentage of adults with a healthy BMI declined to about 31 percent among men and about 40 percent of women. More findings by Vlassopoulo, Combet and Lean (2013) reached a conclusion that approximately 40 percent of men and women are at a point at which it is possible to classify them as obese. In addition, the study also determined that persons whose data was analyzed in the research indicated rising waist circumferences with age in addition to increased BMI.
Evidence exists to indicate that the UK population has failed to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Health & Social Care Information Centre figures illustrate that only 36 percent of adults got engaged in thirty minutes of moderate physical activity once per week. The standard level of exercise is five 30 minutes session of moderate physical activity. Other studies indicate that only 24 percent of men, 29 percent of women (Health & Social Care Information Centre 2013) and less than 20 percent of children fulfill their five portions of fruit and vegetables every day (Griffiths, Gately, Marchant, Cooke 2013).
Globally, it appears that the state of health in the UK is poor based on management of weight and obesity (Food Standard Agency 2008). A report by the World Health Organization described the UK as going through a public health problem with rates of obesity in the country being the worst in Europe (WHO 2007). An analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) in OCED member countries demonstrated that based on measured height and weight, obesity and overweight rates among girls and boys were 22 percent and 23 percent respectively. According to the study, nations such as Denmark, Canada, Portugal, and Norway indicate increased levels of children consumption of fruit and vegetables than the UK (Economic and Social Research Council 2007). The study reached a conclusion that since 200 rates of obesity among adults increased more than a third in sixteen countries. The average fruit and vegetable consumption in the 28 OECD member countries is higher than the UK.
The UK government launched several strategies in efforts to promote healthy lives. The anti-obesity strategy is one of such strategies (Department of Health 2004). Its aim was to decrease the national intake of energy by five billion calories per day so that the nation goes back into a joint energy balance. It set out an action in several areas to deal with obesity. These included empowerment of people by use of behavioral science, guidance, and information; provision of chances to collaborators to play their part through deals in public health responsibility; offering a leading role to local governments in driving health improvement and making use of collaborators at local levels, and establishment of effective and cost effective evidence to identify and spread best practices (Department of Health 2010) . However, there is no evidence to indicate if the strategy worked and its effects on the UK's health since its publication. The government requires a more determined technique in order to ensure effective tackling of obesity.
The main element of anti-obesity campaign was Change4Life, which started in 2009. The campaign focused on encouraging middle-aged adults, as well as families, to transform their lifestyle that included diet, alcohol consumption, as well as exercise levels (National Institute of health and Clinical Excellence 2006). The goal was to enhance small as well as sustainable changes to impact health significantly in the longer term. The campaign concentrated on issues such as being active physically every day, cutting back on sugar, fat, salt and alcohol, and 5-a-day cut (Department of Health 2007). Although these initiatives are significant, the campaign has not had a significant impact to make any difference to the issue of obesity. More specifically, the changes offered cannot affect those who are already overweight or obese (Wanless, Appleby, Harrison, and Patel 2007). Although the campaign is useful, the government needs to find more approaches, such as anti-smoking campaigns.


The study was carried out by searching keywords obesity and obesity in the UK. Articles emerged from the Google Scholar, and only those that were written between 1995 and onwards were selected. The a search with the keyword global obesity was entered. They were selected based on the criteria of the publication date. Only those that were written after 1995 were selected. Then the keywords were narrowed down to obesity and gluttony. The criteria used to select important article was the words obesity and gluttony. Only those articles with the relationship between obesity and gluttony were picked.


Results of this study demonstrate that the focus of numerous initiatives to stop and reduce obesity has been on healthy eating with the goal of reducing the amount of calories consumed by people. The change4life campaign offers information on how to eat healthily and encourages people to substitute unhealthy foods in their diet for better ones; the get going part of the campaign focuses more on exercise than on planned exercise. In addition, the present occurrence and excellence of exercise in schools varies. In some schools, the physical element of physical education was not doing enough to deal with deskbound lifestyles in children and young people as tutors waste more time talking. About one in every five children leaves the basic education level with an inability to swim. For the ablest children, not enough is done to help them gain the most of their capacities. Among the adults, majority of them do not attend the gym or be involved in ordered exercise.
Majority of people in poorer socio-economic categories appear less likely to participate in planned activities or attend a gym due to lack of disposable income. For the already obese population, many of them strive to understand where to begin with an activity or are self-conscious when they are with regular gym attendees. Moreover, it was found out that there is a tendency in the obesity debate to concentrate on what individuals eat rather than what they drink. Since the 1990s, it was identified that there has been an increase of fruit juices and reduced fat milk consumption among children. For adults, a similar trend was observed. However, there was an increase in alcohol consumption among them. Furthermore, it was revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages contribute highly to the increasing obesity levels. Among children and young people, most of them consume on average about 680ml of sweetened beverages but only 453ml of water every day. The study identified that sugar-sweetened beverages offer 175 kcal every day of the intake of calorie for children.


The current data about excess weight and obesity levels in the UK appear grim and indicates a substantial and consistent increase in levels of obesity in the last two decades. In addition, significant evidence from OECD and WHO analysis illustrate that the UK compares unfavorably with levels of obesity in other states. Studies have indicated substantial obesity levels in children, decreased physical activity, as well as fruit and vegetable consumption levels, and increased waist circumference as well as higher BMI measurement among older society members. These underlines a cause for concern that obesity levels in the UK will continue to grow without significant intervention. Considering the ageing UK population that experiences longer life expectancies of nearly 100 years, as well as a significant percentage of the population being in middle to old age, it results in a conclusion that a large number of the population is expected to suffer from weight management problems that could lead to obesity.


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