National Obesity Awareness Week

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Health Assured team

20 December 2018

According to a recent study conducted by University College London, 48% of Britons will be obese by 2045 if current trends are not halted.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when an individual carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. The NHS provide a BMI healthy weight calculator which can be used to indicate whether an individual is at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9: means you're a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9: means you're overweight
  • 30 to 39.9: means you're obese
  • 40 or above: means you're severely obese

Health risks of obesity

According to the NHS, obesity affects approximately one in four adults, and one in five children aged 10 to 11. It can lead to many serious health conditions that are potentially life-threatening, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Bowel, pancreatic, kidney, liver and stomach cancer.  

As well as the serious health conditions mentioned above, obesity can also affect a person’s quality of life and their relationships with family and friends. This can lead to psychological issues such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Obesity can also lead towards a number of day-to-day problems, such as breathlessness, increased sweating, difficulty doing physical activity and joint or back pain.  

According to the latest NHS figures, depending on how severe a person’s obesity is, it can reduce life expectancy by an average of 3 to 10 years and an estimated 1 in every 13 deaths in Europe are attributed to obesity.

6 Tips for losing weight

If you are concerned with your own weight or the health of a loved one, please follow the guidance below including practical tips on how to effectively manage your weight at work: 

  1. Avoid fizzy drinks: It may be tempting to sip a sugary drink to help get over a mid-day slump, but the effects won’t last long. After a short burst of energy from a sugar rush, you will be setting yourself up for a “sugar crash”, meaning your concentration levels and mood will become negatively affected.
  2. Find a healthy co-worker: It can be difficult and awkward to turn down treats from colleagues, so try find a co-worker who also wants to be healthy and buddy up with them and reach your goals as a team.
  3. Drink lots of water: In many instances, people often think they are hungry, when in fact they are actually thirsty instead. To avoid unnecessary calories, whenever you feel the need for a snack, try drinking water instead. Water also has a number of other benefits such as preventing dehydration and increasing your focus at work.
  4. Exercise at work: If there are any stairs in your workplace, choose to take them rather than the lift. You could also go for a walk at lunch. Avoid the vending machine: Vending machines in the workplace are often full of unhealthy snacks, however you can create your own healthy alternative by stocking up on dried fruit and nuts.  

  5. Think about whether you’re emotional eating: Some people eat depending on their emotional state, and a bad day at work or a tough meeting can often be a trigger. It’s worth identifying what may be causing emotional eating, and taking the appropriate steps to avoid doing so.
  6. Exercise at work: If there are any stairs in your workplace, choose to take them rather than the lift. You could also go for a walk at lunch. 

Finding alternatives could help to combat this, such as practicing mindful eating or getting help with any emotional issues.   There are also a number of things you can do outside of work, such as joining a local weight loss group or starting a food diary.

If you feel as though you have issues with your weight, or if you have any other mental or physical wellbeing concerns, please call our helpline on: 0800 030 5182

Support your employees mental health

Our Employee Assistance Programme provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and in life. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.


Find out more about EAPs



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