Why is Obesity on the rise?

You often hear people in the media talking about the rising levels of Obesity, but have you ever thought about the real reasons why Obesity is on the rise?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that our lifestyles have dramatically changed over the last few decades and the fundamental shift in the way that we live our lives, could be having a massive effect on our health and fitness…

Going back to the early 70’s it was quite common for families to bake cakes on a Sunday that would last them the whole week.

Back then, most people didn’t work on Sunday’s and baking cakes became an activity that the whole family could enjoy. The cakes would be made using fresh pastry baked from scratch and the family would spend time outdoors picking their own Blackberries and cooking Apples. The fresh ingredients used to make the cakes meant that proper sugar was used instead of artificial sweeteners that are very bad for you…

It’s fair to say that Cakes have been a long term fixture in the cupboards and refrigerators of British households for several decades and therefore it might be a little harsh of us to blame a rise in obesity on the consumption of cakes. That is of course until you take a closer look at how cakes are now produced and consumed in modern day society…

Back when families were making their own cakes, everything was produced from scratch using fresh ingredients. This meant that cakes didn’t last as long and as a result they weren’t so readily available. Modern day cakes that are sold in Supermarkets are packed full of additional sugars and salts to make them last longer and these excess ingredients are extremely bad for you…

Cakes are also more accessible than ever before, because you can now find a convenience store stocking a wide range of cakes just a stones throw away from most UK households.

When looking for reasons as to why there has been a rise in Obesity, you also have to look towards the increase in Takeways that are consumed and also how readily available they are. Takeaways used to be seen as an occasional treat, where as now they form an integral part of the diet for most families. There are also more Takeway outlets than ever before. Our high streets are laced with a variety of different takeaway shops selling every kind of fast food you could ever want and our Retail Parks and shopping centres are often home to at least 2 or 3 big chain fast food restaurants.

You also have to consider how easy fast food is to get a hold of. You drive to where it is sold, you buy it and you often eat it from the packaging. There’s no rushing around gathering ingredients to make a meal, there’s no cooking or preparation process involved and there’s no washing up afterwards if food is consumed from the packaging.

When you really think about it, fast food is bad for us for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s unhealthy, secondly it makes us less active and lazy and thirdly, we’re eating far too much of it, more often than ever before!

The reduction in the amount of time we spend being active is also a major contributing factor to the rise in Obesity. Most of us now drive to work and choose to take the car when making short journeys to see friends and families or visit the shops.

Children used to play happily in the street or over the park playing football, but now they’re happy to sit indoors playing on a games console, chatting with their friends through their XBox or Playstation.

I find it funny how teenagers can’t wait until they’re 17 to pass their driving test and get a car, when a car was a luxury for most households back in the 70’s and 80’s!

Technology also has a part to play in the rise in obesity, because it is helping us to cut down on the amount of time it takes to complete age old tasks such as hanging the washing up, doing the dishes or preparing our food.

Tumble Dryers, Blenders and Dish Washers have done a great job of taking mundane tasks out of our everyday lives, but most people haven’t replaced those activities with other actitivies, they’ve just spent more time watching TV, playing on their computer or eating more food!!!

Our current generation has lost the knowledge and ability to cook good food and they rely too heavily on ready-made, processed foods. I believe the Education system need to make healthy cookery classes a compulsory part of the school curriculum, in the same way that the Welsh language forms part of our core curriculum. Who knows, we might even start to see improvements in healthy eating and how to make these foods. There’s no way that a language should be seen as more important than the food that a child puts into their body.

Life is harder than it has ever been before, with many of us working harder, for longer and having less time to take good care of ourselves and our families. Here are just a few hints and tips I’d like to share with you, which should hopefully help you to live a healthier life style, without taking up too much of your time…

  1. Eat and drink in better moderation and try to include a wide variety of fruit and veg in your diet.
  2. Avoid processed foods. They are packed full of artificial sweeteners, sugars and preservatives.
  3. Do not drink fizzy drinks! Diet fizzy drinks are just as bad and sometimes worse!
  4. Try to eat more budget range products. The more expensive products tend to have more sugar added to them for taste. [sneaky eh?]
  5. Try to be more active during the day. If work is close enough, walk there! Why not try taking the stairs instead of the lift?
  6. If work is a little too far for walking, why not get a bike? The cycle to work scheme is a fantastic way to get started. The government pay the tax, so you get the bike at a great price!

Keep checking my blog for more hints and tips on how to improve your health and fitness. I’ll be adding new articles every week!

If you’re interested in taking advantage of my Personal Trainer service in Cardiff, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Phillip Parker
Personal Trainer Cardiff