Low self-esteem leads to obesity (BBC News) -‘Early intervention is key’

Children with self-esteem problems are more likely to be obese as adults, a research team has found.

A study of 6,500 participants in the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study found that 10-year-olds with lower self esteem tended to be fatter as adults.

The effect was particularly true for girls, researchers from King’s College London reported.

One obesity expert said the results highlighted that early intervention was key to tackling obesity.

The children had their weight and height measured by a nurse at the age of 10 and they self-reported when they were 30.

Their emotional states were also noted, the researchers reported in the journal BMC Medicine.

Children with a lower self-esteem, those who felt less in control of their lives, and those who worried often were more likely to gain weight over the next 20 years, the results showed.

Professor David Collier, who led the research, said: “What’s novel about this study is that obesity has been regarded as a medical metabolic disorder – what we’ve found is that emotional problems are a risk factor for obesity.

“This is not about people with deep psychological problems, all the anxiety and low self-esteem were within the normal range.”

Strategies

Another researcher, Andrew Ternouth, said: “While we cannot say that childhood emotional problems cause obesity in later life, we can certainly say they play a role, along with factors such as parental weight, diet and exercise.

“Strategies to promote the social and emotional aspects of learning, including the promotion of self-esteem, are central to a number of recent policy initiatives.

“Our findings suggest that approaches of this kind may carry positive benefits for physical health as well as for other aspects of children’s development.”

Dr Ian Campbell, of the charity, Weight Concern, said: “This study presents some disturbing evidence that, as we suspected, childhood psychological issues have an influence on future weight gain and health.

“Many of the adults we work with have identifiable underlying emotional and self esteem issues and are often resistant to treatment.

“The message here is that early intervention, in childhood, can be the key to combating adult obesity.

“That requires much more than health practitioners can deliver alone and needs greater alertness from parents, teachers, and anyone involved in the welfare of children.”

How does this story make you feel? What would you do with more support?

IT’S by far the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken.

I was asked to try to help the fattest, laziest family in Britain to get up off their backsides and lose their blubber.

Six months ago, the Chawners, a family of four, weighed a total of 92st.

Their progress since then has been a rollercoaster of emotions which is set to be shown in a new six-part series.

It will have you shouting at your TV screen.

The family, from Blackburn, were thrust into the limelight after youngest daughter Emma made a much-maligned appearance on The X Factor.

Emma, her big sister Sam, mum Audrey and dad Phil ended up becoming a national joke.

They were held up as an example of a feckless underclass who don’t work and lay slumped in front of the TV stuffing their faces with deep-fried lard.

The Chawner family claimed thousands in benefits and their ailments cost the NHS a small fortune.

Even so, I wanted to give them the chance to show they could turn their lives around.

When I first met the family more than six months ago, they were all morbidly obese and horrendously unfit.

First, I had to arrange for them all to have full physical check-ups — I was utterly shocked at the results.

Dad Phil weighed nearly 25st and had been told he had less than five years to live unless he changed his lifestyle.

Junk

His heart was simply unable to cope with his hugely overweight body.

At that first meeting the family could barely hoist themselves up from the sofa — changing them would not be easy.

Mum Audrey was 22st. At only 60in high — or 5ft — and with a 60in waist, she was rather like a giant ball.

She seemed to have been on a mission to fatten up her girls from the day they were born. Meals were full of fat, sugar and processed food.

Fresh fruit and vegetables were strangers in the Chawner home and there was almost constant snacking on the worst possible junk food.

The only time the family left their settee was to throw more artery-clogging platefuls of grub down their necks.

Clearly, this would all have to change. But the whole family promised me faithfully they were fully committed to the challenge.

They declared they would take all the help and advice on offer and not let me down. They promised to stick to the diet and exercise plan religiously.

It soon became apparent, however, that although mum Audrey said all the right things her heart wasn’t really in it.

I think she would have been far happier just to have been left on her settee with her cakes and biscuits watching an endless loop of soaps and gameshows.

If the Chawners can do it, then there’s no excuse for any other fat person not to at least make an attempt to change.

Global governments ‘must get tough on obesity’ BBC news

Tougher action – including taxing junk food – is needed by all governments if the obesity crisis is going to be tackled, experts say.

The international group of researchers, who have published a series of articles in The Lancet, said no country had yet got to grips with the problem.

They said changes in society meant it was getting harder for people to live healthy lives.

And they warned without state action, health systems could become swamped.

Obesity-related problems, such as diabetes, were now accounting for between 2% and 6% of health care costs in most countries.

Rising spending

But as one of the articles showed, this is likely to get worse if current trends continue.

Researchers made projections for the US and the UK – two of the developed countries with the worst rates of obesity.

They predicted obesity rates would rise from a quarter in the UK to about 40% by 2030.

Such a scenario would cost the NHS an extra £2bn a year – the equivalent of 2% of health spending.

The rise in costs would be even greater in the US, where obesity rates would rise from one in three to about one in two.

The researchers accepted that the whole of society – from the individual to industry – had a role to play in tackling the problem.

But they said governments needed to take a lead by using legislation and direct intervention to create a better environment.

They said many measures – including taxes on unhealthy food, restrictions on junk food advertising, traffic light labelling and school-based education programmes – would save money as well as benefit health.

Hospital admissions related to obesity up 30 per cent in a year, says The NHS Information Centre

The number of recorded hospital admissions related to obesity rose by more than 30 per cent last year, says a report from The NHS Information Centre out today.

The number of admissions related to obesity increased from nearly 8,000 in 2008/09 to nearly 10,600 in 2009/10.

The number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England specifically to combat obesity also increased from 1.28 million in 2008 to 1.45 million in 2009 – a rise of 13 per cent.

To read the story in full go to http://www.ic.nhs.uk/news-and-events/news/hospital-admissions-related-to-obesity-up-30-per-cent-in-a-year-says-the-nhs-information-centre

Ambulances adapted to cope with increasing number of obese patients

Ambulance across the country are being adapted revamped with wider stretchers and lifting gear to cope with the increasing number of obese patients.

Every ambulance service in the UK has started buying the specialist equipment, according to data obtained by the BBC from freedom of information requests.

Standard ambulances are being stocked with heavy-duty wheelchairs, stretchers and lifting cushions.

But many services have also bought ”bariatric” ambulances, costing up to £90,000 each, to ferry the most obese.

The specialist ambulances are equipped with double-width trolley stretchers to accommodate patients weighing up to 50 stone (318lb) and also tend to include hoists and inflatable lifting cushions.

Cushions cost about £2,500 and stretchers between £7,000 to £10,000 while reinforcing an ambulance tail-lift costs about £800 per vehicle, the BBC said.

South Central ambulance trust has spent more than £1 million in the last three years to upgrade nearly two thirds of its 180-strong fleet.

West Midlands has also bought four specialist bariatric ambulances at a combined cost of more than £300,000.

Jo Webber, director of the Ambulance Service Network, said ambulance bosses had been left with no option.

She told the BBC: ”The fact is patients are getting larger and larger and ambulances need to be able to respond immediately to what could be life-threatening situations.

”Every service is having to invest money in this. It shows that some of the lifestyle changes we are seeing have a range of costs. It is not just about treating them, but the infrastructure costs as well.”

Every ambulance trust in England, as well as the services in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland confirmed changes were being made although the pace of the approach varied, according to the data.

While the West Midlands, Yorkshire, the North West and Wales already have pools of bariatric ambulances, until recently in London ambulance bosses were paying a £5,000 monthly fee to a private service.

They have now bought two bariatric ambulances with a third on its way, while the rest of the fleet will also be equipped with specialist gear in the coming years.