Obesity is a major risk factor in many diseases and illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
There have been some bold claims made recently by companies promoting various types of consumer products that claim to enable you to lose weight without the usual ‘no pain no gain’ factor.
Here are some of the tempting claims that try to separate you from a substantial amount of your hard earned cash, and promote lazy weight loss:
- Slimming Chocolate – a new type of chocolate that is claimed to reduce your weight by burning fat, it’s effectiveness being proportional to the amount that you eat – eat more chocolate – lose more weight! this chocolate costs $45 per month for the average recommended quantity
- Slim Ball gastric balloon – an edible device that supposedly expands within the stomach, reducing appetite – cost one off payment of $75
- Lipo-Slim Liposuction device – an external pad that attaches to the feet to ‘extract 6 pounds of fat per week’ – cost $50 per month
- Fat ‘burning’ pills – one per day to lose up to 10 pounds per week without any exercise or diet – cost $15 per month
Information supplied by the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading indicates that nearly a quarter of a million Britons placed their trust and their money in these products last year, and now spend approximately 30 million dollars each year attempting to beat back the seemingly relentless weight gain that afflicts so many of the population.
The Director of the UK Office of Fair Trading, Mike Haley, stated that three quarters of the people who responded to these phoney were women, and that the victims of these weight loss ‘scams’ are becoming victims due to their desperation to find an easy cure for being overweight. He added that the products are effectively of no value, and without any evidence supplied by the manufacturers to substantiate their weight loss claims. In some cases they may actually contain ingedients that are untested and potentially harmful to consumers.
The fact is that when it comes to being overweight, in most cases this is due to a greater number of calories being consumed by the individual than those that are used by the daily requirements for that person.
This leads to surplus calories being converted by the body into fatty deposits that accumulate around the waist, buttocks upper arms or thighs.
Our advice is – let the buyer beware!
What’s going on?
We are continuously bombarded about our weight, with messages about healthy meal plans, healthy eating food, healthy food recipes, low cholesterol foods and how to lose weight. However a recent US study into nutrition, health and obesity indicates that if you are overweight, it does not necessarily mean that you are not healthy.
This is a surprising conclusion, and seems to contradict the many years of advice we have received from the medical profession, that the risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke all increase when we start to climb up the obesity chart.
Half of people classed as overweight have normal blood pressure
In the first national study on this subject, a research Professor from the University of Michican at Chicago, MaryFran Sowers has discovered that approximately half of people classed as being overweight seem to have blood pressure and cholesterol levels within the healthy normal range.
This may force us to rethink our approach to weight and heart health, as part of Sowers’ findings were that, amazingly, half of the people who weighed in under the obesity threshold were found to have problems with their risk factors for heart health that are normally associated with obesity.
So it would appear that you can look like a million dollars, but be a ticking heart attack time bomb or you can bust the scales but still be relatively healthy, or healthier than has previously been thought. The results show that the traditional stereotypical associations about body size and health can be misleading.
Here are the obesity statistics, facts and figures resulting from the research :-
- 51 percent of overweight American adults (approximately 36 million people) tested normal for blood pressure, and levels of blood cholesterol, triglycerides (blood fats) and blood sugar
- Over 30 percent of adults classed as not just overweight, but obese (approx. 20 million people) also showed healthy readings for the above tests
- Nearly 25 percent of adults who were not obsese or overweight (about 16 million) had unhealthy levels of at least two of the four health factors.
Sowers’ conclusion makes for interesting reading, as she points out that although it has been previously acknowledged that some thin people can develop heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, whilst some obese people don’t – it’s just the scale of the numbers that is very surprising, and also indicates that up to 16 million Americans who think that they are not at risk of developing heart disease actually are.
Obesity definition – is the system for calculating obesity flawed?
Now, this leads us to the question whether the existing definition of being overweight is still valid or not. The current way of determining if someone is overweight or not is to look at their body mass index (BMI) reading. Unfortunately, this method does not differentiate between bad body fat and healthy muscle tissue. It has recently been pointed out that technically this means that half of the pro Basketball Players in the United States fall into the clinically obese category!
The UK is poised to invest over $50 million to reduce the statistics of obesity in parents and help them to improve their health and fitness levels. The cash will be used to launch the ‘healthy towns’ campaign, and follows publication of a report warning that nine out of ten British adults will be overweight or obese by the year 2050.
Manchester is a very unhealthy city according to the United Kingdom health authorities. In fact it is one of the most unhealthy cities in the UK, with the lowest male life expectancy, and the fourth lowest female life expectancy in England. One of the major health problems is obesity, and the way in which being overweight effects a person’s overall health, including the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. This is why Manchester has been chosen to pilot the healthy towns scheme, which is sponsored by the government and is aimed specifically at fat parents.
Whatever the root causes of their obesity, parents in the United Kingdom may now qualify for overweight help in the form of free healthy food, or free sports equipment, or membership of their local gym. These measures have been proposed by the British Government to help solve parents problems related to how to loose weight, and reduce the ever growing overweight statistics.
New proposals due to take effect in 2009 will allow obese parents who choose to walk their children to school to receive special benefits and rewards, under the new plans to tackle the obesity epidemic in Great Britain.
This may also help to reduce the growing number of cases of obesity in children, whilst helping the childs parents at the same time. Going for a run could also be an earner. Joggers would swipe their cards at machines in parks and collect points given in accordance with the distance run. Machines could be placed in schools and at stations so parents and commuters could swipe their cards, although details have yet to be finalised.
cash for exercise
Those who attend exercise classes to help keep fit, or attend slimming clubs to help lose weight would also be eligible for the above rewards, which would be collected using a points scheme based around the established supermarket type loyalty cards. The points earned could be used to buy healthy food, sports equipment or workout sessions at the local gym. Participants could earn even more rewards by actually losing weight, depending on how much they lose. If the trial proves to be successful in reducing overweight issues, it could be rolled out across the whole country.
There are some critics of the new scheme however, who have stated that payments amount to bribery, and that the scheme is wide open to fraud, because points would be given just for turning up at various locations. Matthew Elliot, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This whole scheme is so dubious because there is clearly potential for abuse and fraud. It would be so easy for someone to hop out of their car for a second to go and swipe their card, enabling them to claim they had walked to school.’ He went on to say ‘Healthy people pay enough tax already without having to bribe the obese or put cash into the pockets of fraudsters.’
What do you think ? – have your say by leaving a comment below