‘Manchester has a problem’: Education is key to solve obesity crisis, says expert

A Manchester nutrition expert has said that education is the key to helping people with bad diets, after a global report has shown there are now more adults who are obese than under-weight.

Researchers from Imperial College London also found that obesity has tripled in men and more than doubled in women.

The study collected data from adults across 186 countries and discovered that the number of obese people has risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014.

“The North West of England altogether has a problem when it comes to obesity and it comes down to so many things, such as social economic factors,” said Dr Bartek Buczkowski, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“There are these health risk areas in the North West, including Manchester.

“There has been a big lifestyle change here in the last few years, but the food hasn’t changed, they are still loaded with energy.

“I think when it comes to this increasingly sedentary lifestyle the diets of our population haven’t really adjusted to this.”

The 34-year-old lecturer said that although he agrees that people should reduce their sugar intake, he thinks that a more education-led approach should be taken.

George Osborne announced a sugar tax in his March Budget, which particularly targeted sugar-based fizzy drinks.

“If I’m honest I think that children would benefit from reduced consumption of these kinds of drinks but sugar attacks are just part of a solution to the problem,” said Dr Buczkowski.

“Instead of addressing just the intakes of sugar we should be educating the population on how to make a better choice, what to replace this fizzy drink with.

“I understand that there is this big pressure to do something very physical and sugar is very physical and very controversial too, but I think that’s an answer to just a part of the problem.

“Another part is to increase the activity levels, to make this positive change in lifestyle.”

Dr Buczkowski was also keen to point out that improving your diet does not have to break the bank.

“I dare say that a healthy diet wouldn’t necessarily be expensive because it doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said.

“You have foods which are fairly low in fat such as beans, [which are] high in protein. They used to be called ‘poor man’s protein’.

“It comes down to educating the population as to how to make these healthier choices even if your budget is limited.”

The study found that the UK is one of the leading hotspots for obesity alongside China, the US and Canada.

It has been predicted that by 2025, the UK will have the highest levels of obese women in Europe (38%), followed by Republic of Ireland (37%) and Malta (34%).

It was also revealed that women in the UK have the third highest BMI in Europe and the 10th highest for men.

Image courtesy of Tibor Végh, via Wikipedia, with thanks

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