Average UK male weight up 16lb in 15 years, study finds

The average British man was more than a stone heavier in 2000 than he was in 1986, an Oxford University study found.

Scientists put the average weight rise of 7.7kg (16.9lb) down to men eating more calories and taking less physical exercise than 15 years earlier.

The British Heart Foundation research in the British Journal of Nutrition analysed changes in food consumption and body weight between 1986 and 2000.

Women’s average weight gain over the period was 5.4kg (11.9lb).

By studying official figures on body weight from 1986 and 2000 and calculating the food energy available during that time, researchers were able to work out the expected extra food eaten by men and women during that period.

They predicted that the average man in 2000 ate more food than the average man in 1986 – enough to make him 4.7kg (10.3lb) heavier in weight.

But the actual observed increase in average male weight turned out to be higher.

This was much more than expected, so the study concluded that a reduction in physical activity was behind the increased weight as well as the extra food.

The extra food available in 2000 was enough to explain the increased weight in women compared to 1986.

‘Sedentary job’

Research shows that larger men are at greater risk of heart disease and the number of overweight men has been increasing over the past 20 years.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Physical activity is slowly being removed from day-to-day life.”

End Quote Dr Peter Scarborough University of Oxford

In England, 25% of men were classed as obese in 2008.

This compares with only 7% who were obese in 1986.

Dr Peter Scarborough, senior researcher in public health at Oxford University, said that there could be a number of reasons for the reduction in exercise in men in his study.

“The problem is really how people are getting around. They are driving more, cycling less and more likely to be employed in a sedentary job.

“Physical activity is slowly being removed from day-to-day life.”

The British Heart Foundation said the research suggested “a ticking time bomb for male health” and stresses the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet.

“Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and stroke and contributes to premature death and poor quality of life,” a spokesperson said.

Is taxing the fat the only way forward? (BBC report)

Let us know your thoughts on this BBC report… If you would like help managing your weight, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

Brits top the league table of the fattest nations in Europe and experts fear that soon we’ll be dealing with all the supersize problems that come with it.

The concern is that by 2020 a quarter of our children will be clinically obese, that by 2050 we will be spending £32 bn a year treating obesity-related illnesses as we face a 20 per cent rise in heart disease and a staggering 70 per cent rise in type 2 diabetes.

And those experts point the finger of blame firmly at our continuing consumption of junk foods.

They’re now making the case for government moving beyond suggesting we remember our five-a-day and take a greater role in dealing with our ever-expanding waistlines.

So Panorama is asking whether it’s time to tax the fat?

Would putting up the price of junk food – with its high sugar and fat content – cut these rising obesity rates in the same way as a tax on cigarettes – vigorously contested by the tobacco industry at the time – has helped reduce smoking?

In ‘Tax the Fat’, Panorama delves into the rich British Pathe archive to take the viewer back to a time when the link between human behaviour and ill-health was still a matter of conjecture – as shown by this Ministry of Health report that smoking might cause lung cancer.

Weight-Loss Surgery

Weight-loss surgery pays for itself in just one year, according to the first economic analysis of the controversial operation.

Figures released by the Royal College of Surgeons revealed that severely obese patients are able to come off disability benefits and return to taxed employment, dwarfing the £8,000 cost of the procedure.

It said the NHS must now fund more operations – for the benefit of patients and the economy.

Marcus Reddy, a consultant surgeon at St George’s Hospital in London, said: “It has been a falsely held belief that bariatric surgery is expensive. It’s not.

“It’s very cheap. It’s something that will help all of us in the economy.”

Some surgeons are claiming that obese operations could save the economy millions

Analysis by the well-respected Office of Health Economics showed, if a quarter of obese patients had the size of their stomachs reduced, it would cost the NHS £546m.

But, over the next three years, the NHS would save £104m as their health improved and the benefits bill would fall by up to £450m.

So many housebound patients would be fit to return to work that the economy would get a boost of £1.8bn.

Mr Reddy said: “In the short term it is new expenditure. But, after surgery, patients’ diabetes is resolved, their medication reduced and they’re not attending hospital so frequently. It’s staggering.”

Anthony Colyer, who has lost 6st since having the surgery a year ago, said the NHS should do more of the operations.

Weight-loss surgery

From taking 14 tablets to treat medical conditions related to obesity, he is now taking just one and no longer fears his size will cost him his job.

Mr Colyer said: “I don’t go to my doctors as often. I don’t expect to need any hip operations or knee operations because riding my bicycle tells me all my joints are good. I don’t get any aches. So I think surgery is incredibly important.”

About 240,000 obese patients need – and want – weight-loss surgery on the NHS.

Last year, just 3,600 actually had it.

But the Department of Health made no commitment to increase funding for operations.

Health minister Paul Burstow said: “Our ambition is to encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce the need for this type of treatment.”

Drink water before meals

It must rate as one of the simplest diets, but scientists have nevertheless shown that drinking water before meals causes significant weight loss.

Over the course of three months people who sipped two glasses of water before eating lost about 15 pounds compared to the 11 pounds lost by a comparable group of people following the same low-calorie diet.

The study suggests that water could help to reduce calorie intake either by swelling the stomach and making a person feel more full, or by making it less likely that someone will sip sugary drinks with their meal.

Brenda Davy, an associate professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburgh, told the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society that the research was the first scientifically controlled study of whether water could play a role in dieting.

“We found in earlier studies that middle-aged and older people who drank two cups of water before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent study, we found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake,” Dr Davy said.

WW clinic floor collapsed

As the dieters queued to see how many pounds they had shed, the floor beneath them in the clinic in Växjö, in south-central Sweden, began to rumble, according to a report in The Local, Sweden’s English-language newspaper.

“We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air.
 
“The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls,” one Weight Watchers participant told the Smålandsposten newspaper.

Soon, the fault lines spread around the room, and other sections of the floor gave way.

Luckily, all of the dieters escaped uninjured and managed to move the scales to the corridor, which was not damaged in the accident, and were able to complete their weekly weigh in.

The cause of the floor’s collapse remains under investigation.