61% 'overweight or obese' in NI

Published Thursday, 03 January 2013
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More than one in two people in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese, health experts say.

61% 'overweight or obese' in NI
The PHA launches a campaign to tackle NI's obesity problem (© Getty)

A new ad campaign to tackle the obesity problem in the region was launched by the Public Health Agency (PHA) on Thursday.

It comes after the latest Northern Ireland Health Survey showed 61% of adults in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese.

However 43% of those assessed as overweight felt their weight was about right or too light, showing individual perceptions are often wrong.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride says tackling obesity is "one of the biggest public health challenges" in Northern Ireland.

"Obesity is a modern lifestyle epidemic that is threatening our health and wellbeing," he said.

As part of the campaign, the PHA is encouraging people to measure their waist to identify whether they are overweight or obese.

Run a tape measure around your waist just below your belly button and if you're over 32 inches for women and 37 inches for men, it's a sign that you may need to take some steps.

Dr Carolyn Harper

"More than one in two adults in Northern Ireland are now overweight or obese, but many people don't even realise that they fall into this category and are putting their health at risk," Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health, said.

The PHA says being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

A website, called Choose To Live Better, provides helpful tips and practical advice on how people can measure their waist and reduce their weight.

"We want people to think about whether they are inching towards poor health and to take positive action to address it if they are," Dr Harper said.

"This campaign aims to help people recognise when they are overweight or obese, explain the health effects, and encourage those who need to, to make small, realistic lifestyle changes that will help them maintain a healthy weight."

EXTERNAL LINKS / CONTACTS
The campaign will initially run until the end of March 2013.
© UTV News
Comments Comments
19 Comments
Realist in England wrote (622 days ago):
Frosty - you appear to put some of the blame for the obesity problem on GPs. I find that extremely unfair. GPs, on the whole, are intelligent, well educated people. They would not give drugs unless they believed that the benefits (in terms of depression or whatever) outweighed the side effects (in terms of weight gain, etc.). You are completely incorrect on the skipping meals thing. We can only store around 70g of glycogen (about 300kCal). We easily use that amount up during the overnight fast and then we start metabolising protein before, eventually, switching to fat. Skipping breakfast or dinner would not lead to you laying down more fat. Quite the opposite - it would lead to a greater loss of fat than you could hope to achieve by reducing food intake by the same amount spread out across the whole day. I am not advocating such a diet strategy (indeed, the prolonged use of fat as an energy source can lead to some metabolic problems); I am merely pointing out that your claim is incorrect.
lorna in limavady wrote (622 days ago):
Can't help wondering how this could be. Where are all the obese people for I have yet to see large people when I'm out and about. Maybe slightly overweight but OBESE ? NO. I was told I was overweight wearing size 12 my friend "a smoker" was told she had no worrys. When I go to the supermarket about 75% of the food there I would not eat. full of sugar.fat ect. Go to the diet heathly options and what a poor show.
Tommy Atkins in london England wrote (622 days ago):
A person Cannot become overweight unless they are consuming more calories than they expend through daily activities If you are overweight Dont blame the government,accept that it was your own fault and do something about it
Frosty in Here wrote (622 days ago):
Doctors seem to forget that a lot of the medication they themselves prescribe (eg anti-depressants) can lead to patients putting on weight. Also people who work in an office all day don't get much exercise and after a hard day the last thing they feel like doing is going to the gym. Of course our car dependency culture is at least in part responsible, as is the pressure of time, more options leads people to eat fast foods rather than cooking a decent meal and stress (whether real or perceived) makes people rush to do the next thing. Also skipping meals or eating irregularly means the body will begin to store fat, so we're not all gluttons, as the article would otherwise suggest.
Realist in England wrote (623 days ago):
Joe - I fail to see any relationship there. Maybe it is just me being one of those stereotypical sceptical scientists but many/most such products are, at best, of limited benefit in my opinion and I see little argument for exempting them from VAT. Protein supplements are broken down, absorbed and respired like any other proteins in the diet. Protein is not stored in the body for later use, per se, and over-comsumption can not magically make your muscles bigger. All it does is lead to a build up of nasty nitrogenous toxins as your body converts them into things it can immediately respire or, presumably counter-prouctively in your mind, convert for storage as fat. On your fast food point - maybe I should get mine in Ireland in future as I certainly don't see it (or anything else) getting cheaper in England! Ivan - good luck with the fitness course. Such things can certainly be beneficial in helping you to lose weight/lower your blood pressure. I'm not so sure that exercise alone can improve your cholesterol levels, however. Reducing the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet is probably the best starting point in that respect. If more help is needed, eating stanol-containing products can reduce the amount you take up from your diet. Drugs that disrupt your body's production of cholesterol may be needed when over-production results in excessively high levels. As with other health concerns, if you think your cholesterol levels may be a problem you should discuss it with your GP.
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