It’s National Obesity Awareness Week and this year the campaign is raising the alarm over the cost to the health service.
According to the 2011 Health Survey for England, 25 per cent of adults in the UK were obese in 2011 – an increase from 15 per cent in 1993. The campaign, by the National Obesity Forum, estimates that more than half of the UK population could be obese by 2050, costing the NHS £10 billion a year.
Some of the world’s most serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer are known to be weight related. After not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of cancer and other diseases. But losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight, can be a challenge.
So for National Obesity Awareness Week 2014 we’ve put together these quick top tips and tools for being a healthy weight.
Tip 1: Find out if you are a healthy weight
A quick way to find out if you’re a healthy weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is based on your current weight and height.
- Use our online BMI calculator to discover if you’re in the healthy weight range.
If your BMI is in the overweight or obese range, losing weight will benefit your general health and be likely to reduce your risk of cancer.
Tip 2: Make long-term changes
The best way to lose weight, and maintain that weight loss, is to make small changes to your diet and physical activity levels that you can keep up in the long-term.
Aim to lose around 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) a week, until you achieve a healthy BMI. For most men, this means consuming no more than 1,900 calories a day and 1,400 calories a day for most women.
Try setting your long-term weight loss goal – the more specific the better. For example, “to lose 6lb in six weeks, ready for my summer holiday”.
A diary can be a great way to keep track and manage your weight as you try to reduce it.
- Download free diaries on weight, physical activity, alcohol and meal planning from our website.
Tip 3: Make short-term goals to change your lifestyle
Think about what steps you need to take to become more active and consume fewer calories. Think about how much exercise you take, what you snack on and what foods you treat yourself to. For example, “I will be active every day for 30 minutes”, “I will swap crisps for rice cakes” or “I will swap sugary drinks for water”.
- Try our healthy recipes - these are a great place to start for healthy meals, desserts and snack ideas.
- Try our online exercise calorie calculator – by entering the number of calories you’d like to burn, our exercise calculator will tell you how long you to need to spend on a chosen activity. There are 20 activities to chose from and you can select more than one to compare them.
Tip 4: Stay motivated
Think about why you want to lose weight. Having a good reason will keep you motivated so that you’re more likely to achieve your goal, such as “I want to be healthier”, “I want to be fit to play with my kids” or “I want to fit into my clothes again”.
Tip 5: Small steps lead to big changes
Think about the small steps you can take to change your diet. Two wholegrain crackers instead of two slices of white bread will save you 100 calories, for example. Small changes like this soon add up over a period of time.
- Sign up to our 100 Calorie Challenge and get a new healthy swap idea every day over three weeks.
Visit National Obesity Awareness Week for more information about the campaign and how you can get involved. Visit www.wcrf-uk.org for more free health tools, calculators, information and advice on cancer prevention.