Obesity is a chronic health problem, similar to diabetes and high blood pressure that affects 1 in every 4 adults in the UK. Worryingly, the number of people affected by obesity in the UK is set to rise to 1 in every 2 people by 2050.

A person is classified as being obese if they have an unhealthy amount of body fat. A woman is classified as being obese if her body fat makes up 40% or more of her total body weight. A man is classified as being obese if his body fat makes up 30% or more of his body weight.

Understanding obesity

Obesity, similar to high blood pressure, is a chronic illness, which affects people lifelong. During human evolution having stored fat was essential to allow people to survive periods of famine. Our bodies have several powerful defense mechanism to protect its fat stores and to go back to the highest weight that you have ever reached. When we try to lose weight by going on a diet or by exercising, losing weight becomes increasingly difficult and the weight will come back on as soon as you reduce your efforts to keep it off.

Other risks

A person with obesity is at increased risk of developing several other severe diseases such as heart disease. It is important that people with obesity are aware of obesity-linked health problems and request relevant health checks from their GP.

A chronic disease

The World Health Organisation (WHO), the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association now recognise obesity as a chronic progressive disease like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. People with obesity need lifelong support in order to maintain a healthy body weight. Weight management should never be about how much or how fast you can lose weight what matters is finding a lifestyle that means you can keep your weight as low as possible whilst living a life that you can enjoy.