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The rise is obesity and diabetes over the last 40 years is INSANE!

I was born in 1975 when 105 million people were obese. Research by Imperial College London shows that this number has now risen to 641 million. In other words, for each obese person alive when I was born, there are now 6 and obesity is still on the rise…

By 2025 (less than 10 years from now) 1 in 5 people worldwide will be obese, according to a report by the UN World Food Programme and in the UK it is expected be 2 in 5!

If you include people who are overweight the statistics are even worse. Right now nearly 2 billion adults worldwide are overweight and here in the UK, 7 in 10 men and 6 in 10 women are overweight or obese.

And it’s not just weight gain…

Diabetes among adults has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, meaning that almost 1 in 10 adults worldwide is now diabetic.

3.7 Million Diabetes Deaths in 2012

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation and in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes and another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

In other words, type 2 diabetes (like obesity) is often a lifestyle related disease.

There are people who think lifestyle disease means ‘it’s your fault’. British Transport Police are even investigating a card that was handed out on the London Underground which had the tag line: ‘It’s really not glandular, it’s your gluttony,’ and read: ‘Our organisation hates and resents fat people. We object to the enormous amount of food resources you consume while half the world starves. We disapprove of your wasting NHS money to treat your selfish greed. And we do not understand why you fail to grasp that by eating less you will be better off, slimmer, happy and find a partner who is not a perverted chubby-lover, or even find a partner at all.’

Having been obese I do not think it was my ‘fault’ or that I was ‘stupid’. I knew I was obese, I knew I was sick but despite trying to be ‘healthy’ I wasn’t getting any better…

A changing food environment

Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford says the obesity crisis is partly caused by the wide availability of unhealthy snacks and not a lack of self-control.

“It’s something about our environment that has changed,” she said.

I think she has a valid point.

From the mid-70s to the early 80s, frozen food took off

As a child of that time, I remember getting excited by all the new ‘foods’ that appeared, things like the waffle-ly versatile potato waffles, crispy pancakes, oven chips and arctic roll.

Ready meals were a novelty back then, yet, according to business analysts Mintel, the ready meal market in the UK was valued at £2.6bn a year by 2013.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in December 2013 found that not even one of 100 supermarket ready meals it analysed fully complied with nutritional guidelines set by the World Health Organization. With this in mind is it any surprise that we are seeing a decline in our nations health?

Many believe they need to focus on calories to manage their weight and that getting health meaning restricting themselves and ‘punishing’ themselves in the gym.

This is outdated thinking based on a reductionist approach

Which is healthier, 200 calories of donuts or 200 calories of broccoli?

Clearly not all calories are created equally. I believe there are 3 things that need to be addressed to achieve wellness: Attitude, Intake and Movement.

From a food perspective the answer is to consume a diet high in plant based whole foods that feed the body on a cellular level.

There is a belief that processed foods and ready meals are convenient, but long term how convenient is it to be obese and sick?

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