The number of adults who are obese has doubled in the past twenty years. This is good news for the weight-loss industry, selling the latest diet fads and miracle exercise machines to the masses. But it’s bad news for everyone else. Obesity is a serious health problem, associated with a range of diseases including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis, cancers and death.
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Taking a bite out of obesity
If you are one of the many people in today’s society that could stand to lose a few pounds, any supermarket magazine will tell you that to lose weight you need to do just two things: eat less, and exercise more. This is because the weight we gain is based on kilojoules – units of energy. If we eat more kilojoules than we burn up in our daily physical activity, we get fat. If we expend more kilojoules than we take in, we stay slim.
This is fine in general terms, but how do we get down to the nitty-gritty, and balance our kilojoule intake against output? In other words, how much do we have to change our eating-and-exercise regimen in order to make a difference?
Running a tape-measure around your stomach is a good way to estimate your level of body fat, and your corresponding need for change. This method makes medical good-sense; the professional literature indicates that fat located in the abdominal region is associated with greater health risk than fat that accumulates in the body’s peripheral regions (hips and bum).