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Get The Message Out There: There Is An Obesity Crisis In The UK


Alan Jackson, a national obesity expert, has created this free downloadable infographic to help fitness professionals illustrate to their clients or anyone else the nature of the current obesity crisis in the UK and the measures that can be taken to help obese people...

Obesity in the UK is a growing problem and it appears to be getting worse. Whilst there may be a lull in the numbers of very young children becoming obese, the trend in older children and adults continues to escalate. Currently in the UK two-thirds of men (66.5%) and over half of women (58%) are overweight or obese (Health Survey for England 2012).

The prevalence of obesity increases with every decade of life, only receding in the over 70’s as the obese populations normally die from an obesity-related co-morbidity before they reach that age.

One difficulty that we are facing is that as a child’s weight escalates beyond normal proportions, the body in response starts to build more fat cells to safely accommodate the extra calories (otherwise they will be converted into fat and will accumulate in the liver, vascular system, pancreas etc).

As this continues, and the child’s weight increases, so too does their appetite. In the meantime their increased weight starts to impact upon their ability to sustain aerobic exertion, their balance and motor skills are affected and confidence in sport wanes. All of this leads to a long-term downturn in physical activity which obviously makes weight loss/management difficult.

The problem is that this early life hyperplasic adiposity (building of excess fat cells) appears to be largely irreversible, thus the unfortunate individual is stuck with up to 50 billion more fat cells than a normal weight person – for the rest of their life! Subsequently, weight control through the life course is a constant struggle, and as most people that were overweight as children will testify, it is a battle that ultimately they will lose.

A further worrying trend is the increasing numbers of morbidly obese people with a body mass index in excess of 40Kg/m2 and now super morbidly obese people (BMI>50Kg/m2) that are being recorded in the UK.

It is estimated that morbid or severe obesity as it is sometimes known, will reduce the lifespan by around thirteen years, with morbidly obese individuals accessing four times the amount of health resources that a normal weight individual would.

Having said all of this, there is plenty that can be done to ameliorate the obesity epidemic in the UK and you may wish to visit our fitness resource centre in order to view content and access downloadable tools to support weight management interventions.

Discovery Learning in conjunction with Weight Management Centre has developed this obesity infographic setting out the key statistics alongside evidenced approaches to tackling the epidemic. We urge you to look at the graphic and share the information on this page with others to try to get the key messages of obesity in the UK out into the general domain.

We need to get as many people as possible collectively engaged in the debate and working towards the lasting solutions that are surely within our powers.


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