JanUary is all about making changes that can enable each of us to be a bit healthier. As a population, obesity is a major problem and has serious consequences for our long-term health and for the services – including the NHS – that support us.
Approximately one in four adults is considered to be obese, along with a quarter of children leaving primary school. So what can you do if you need support?
There tends to be less information available for people who are obese but want to do something about it. Information about what you can do to lose weight when perhaps running up and down the stairs isn’t yet an option for you. How to recognise if you have a problem with food and what to do about it if you do. What support services are available to help people who are obese?
The National Obesity Forum understands that there is not enough support and policy which focuses on helping people who are obese. That is why a key concern for National Obesity Awareness Week is to raise awareness of the options and support that are available for people who need to lose a large amount to reach a healthy weight.
Throughout the site we’ve put together some information that we hope will help, including some references to support services and recipes specifically for people who have been diagnosed as being obese and are looking to lose weight.
If you’re looking to lose weight, then a structured weight management programme could help you achieve your goals.
There a range of programmes available – similarly, when considering which programme would suit you best, there a number of issues to consider:
How much weight do you want to lose?
Some programmes, such as Very Low Calorie Diets will provide a low amount of calories through specially formulated meal replacements. This may be helpful if you have a significant amount of weight to lose and would benefit from a break from traditional food. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England recommends that Very Low Calorie Diets should be used as part of a multicomponent weight management strategy, for people who are obese and who have a clinically-assessed need to rapidly lose weight
Some programmes mix meal replacements and traditional foods, while some programmes use only traditional foods and other programmes focus solely on education and motivating you to lose weight; these may be more appropriate if you only have a small amount of weight to lose.
What support is available?
As well as looking to reduce their calorie intake, many people benefit from support and motivation on either a group or individual basis. Some programmes will provide you with a named consultant who is able to answer your questions and provide motivation at difficult times.
Is exercise part of the programme?
Achieving a healthy weight requires a balance of both healthy eating and physical activity. With some programmes, a specified individual will be able to provide you with advice on how to gradually step up your physical activity, ensuring that this remains appropriate to your eating levels.
Once you’ve achieved your target weight, you’ll want to make sure that you can maintain it – many programmes offer ongoing support which will help provide motivation if you are struggling to maintain healthy habits.
We are asking the UK to join us in a national New Year’s resolution to help improve the nation’s health. Whether it’s cooking more healthily, avoiding snacks, or being a little more physically active, join in and make your healthy New Year’s resolution now!