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While in Ireland, 37% of adults are considered a healthy weight, according to a report from the Department of Health.
Obesity Awareness Week takes place between 11th – 17th January. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the issues caused by obesity and promotes organisations such as World Obesity and The Obesity Society.
The long-term impacts of living with obesity may include high blood pressure and cholesterol, access fat on organs such as the heart and risks of severe physical illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes.
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 to a number of day-to-day problems, such as breathlessness, difficulty doing physical activity and joint or back pain.
In serious cases, there have been links between obesity and suicidal behaviour in obese children and adults, due to either health complications, harassment, or poor mental health. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is responsible for at least 2.8 million deaths each year.
Here are a few suggestions on how to reduce obesity, maintain a healthy weight and support your mental health.
Regular exercise: Exercise is proven to release serotonin into the brain which reduces low mood. Furthermore, burning calories is a sure-fire way to lose weight. Even doing light exercise once a day can make a huge difference!
A balanced diet: A healthy diet will allow you to gain a healthier relationship with food and enjoy it in a more balanced way. Dieting does not have to be strict and regimented, doing simple tasks like measuring calories or macros will allow you to enjoy food in a balanced way.
Mindfulness: Undertaking regular mindfulness will allow you to check-in with your mind and reduce the bodies cravings for food. Activities such as meditation, and yoga will improve your relationship with food, and increase positive mental wellbeing.
Seeking support: Whether this is with a friend, family member or trained professional like a counsellor or dietitian, this will create a support network for you. Counselling will assist you within the area of mental health and achieving goals for losing weight, a dietician will help you with the more practical aspects of dieting such as meal prepping, and portion control.
This Obesity Awareness Week, think about the role that obesity plays in your life. Ensure that you spend time researching ways that can assist yourself or others overcoming or living with obesity, such as the tips suggested in this guidance or getting in touch with your EAP.
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