3 Obesity and health
Obesity is a serious health concern in the UK, strongly related to eating habits. In addition, the fascination with celebrity culture (female celebrities in particular are purposely thin), lack of exercise and a fast food diet can all have an impact on childhood obesity. As an illustration of the scale of the problem, the box below shows some key facts about obesity in England in 2010. The information selected here gives an idea of aspects of obesity that are significant to health – the proportion of adults and children who are obese, the amount of exercise people get, diet, and need for medical treatment.
You will notice that the ‘5 A DAY’ campaign is identified as an important factor in relation to obesity. You will also notice that there is a distinction made between ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’, and this will be explained further on. As you read this closely, also look out for the increase in hospital admissions for obesity over the ten years since 2000. The number of prescriptions for obesity is also an indication of its impact on health.
Read the box below outlining some key facts on obesity and then have a go at answering the questions in Activity 3.
Obesity: Key facts
- Just over a quarter of adults in England were classified as obese. Around three in ten children (aged 2 to 15) were classed as either overweight or obese (29 per cent of girls and 31 per cent of boys).
- 41 per cent of respondents in the national travel survey (including all ages from 2 upwards) made walks of 20 minutes or more at least three times a week and an additional 23 per cent said they did so at least once or twice a week. However, 20 per cent reported that they took walks of at least 20 minutes ‘less than once a year or never’.
- 25 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women consumed the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
- Patient admissions in NHS hospitals with a primary diagnosis of obesity among people of all ages was 11,574 in 2010/11. This is over ten times as high as the number in 2000/01 (1,054).
- There were 1.1 million prescription items for the treatment of obesity.
Activity 3: Check the facts
Insert the correct word or words into the missing spaces in each phrase or sentence.
Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.
Just over a quarter
41 per cent
27 per cent
a.How many respondents in the national travel survey made walks of 20 minutes or more at least three times a week?
b.What was the number of patient admissions in NHS hospitals with a primary diagnosis of obesity?
c.How many women consumed the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily?
d.Approximately how many adults in England were classified as obese?
- 1 = d
- 2 = a
- 3 = c
- 4 = b