Britain’s obesity epidemic is being fuelled by the sheer abundance of food, researchers have warned, after finding that each person has a whopping 50% more calories available to them than they actually need.
The study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation found that obesity rates have rapidly risen as food has become more rapidly available and even more calorific.
Every person in Britain currently has a massive 3428 calories available to them each day. That’s 70% more than the amount needed by women, and 37% more than men’s recommended daily intake. Back in 1993, this figure stood at 212 calories less.
The study reported that in 56 out of the 69 countries they researched, average body weight had increased steadily alongside the available food supply. Only countries hit by famine, natural disasters or civil war didn’t follow this trend.
Whilst we’re all aware that obesity is on the rise, we often point towards the increase in sedentary lifestyles, desk jobs and use of our cars as the culprit in hindering our fight against the fat. These factors all contribute to the obesity epidemic, though it’s true that the food available to us affects the choices we make about what we put into our bodies
Stefanie Vandevijvere, senior researcher in global health and food policy said;
"Our study shows that oversupply of available calories is a likely driver of over-consumption of calories and can readily explain the weight gain seen in most countries. Much of the increase in available calories over the decades has come from ultra-processed food products, which are highly palatable, relatively inexpensive and widely advertised, making over-consumption of calories very easy.”
In Britain, 25 per cent of adults are obese. In case you were wondering, that’s 12 million of us! Studies say that by 2030, 60% of the UK is predicted to be overweight.
Weight gain is a risk factor for a whole host of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers, with the obese shaving up to 8 years off their lives
from these illnesses. Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK over £5 billion every year which is likely to rise to £50 billion in the next 36 years.
Researchers say the study shows that governments must implement policies to make food healthier, calling for a restriction of the marketing of unhealthy foods
to children and clearly labelling food packets with nutritional information.
Meanwhile, us fitness professionals can educate the nation on portion control, making the right choices and ditching the convenience foods in place of healthy alternatives.
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