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   Sep 03

The fat are getting fatter: Britain’s heaviest continue to put on weight despite a drop in the nation’s overall obesity rate

Researchers found that although the nation’s overall weight gain is slowing down, the results are being skewed by people who watch their waistlines

Study authors suggest the Government should consider findings to develop targeted, rather than population-wide, policies to tackle obesity

After years of rising obesity rates, the majority of adults have stopped piling on the pounds during the past decade.
But the nation’s average size is continuing to rise due to a hardcore of overweight individuals who are still getting fatter.

A study, which looked at 160,000 adults in England between 1992 and 2010, found that a quarter of men and a third of women with an existing high body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in comparison to height – remain susceptible to substantial weight-gain.

Although the obesity rate in England is slowing down, research from Manchester University has found these figures are skewed by the number of people who constantly watch their weight.

They discovered that people who start with a high BMI are more likely to get fatter than people who start off, and maintain, a normal BMI

In this group, the average man gained around two pounds per year on average, while the women gained around a pound per year.

In contrast, said researchers, most of the population is resistant to further piling on the pounds, with the findings suggesting that many have always been healthy while others have simply reached their top weight.

Annual average gains for this group were just a third of a pound for men, and a sixth of pound for women, said the study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Currently, two-thirds of adults are classed as overweight or obese, and would benefit from following official advice on diet and exercise.

Men and women who avoid gaining lots of weight and maintain a normal BMI are reducing the overall rate of obesity, and this offsets the increasing BMI of the fattest people
But researchers suggest this approach is too simplistic, and a more targeted effort is needed for the ‘fat that keep on getting fatter’.

Study co-author Professor Iain Buchan, from the University of Manchester, said while the nation’s BMI increased dramatically in the 1990s, this trend slowed in the past decade.

He added: ‘When we are talking about obesity, we are not just talking about something that everyone is equally susceptible to.

‘We are dividing up into two tribes.

There is a group of the population that are now resistant to dramatic weight-increase and a susceptible portion who continue to gain.

The Government’s approach to the issue needs to be more detailed if it is to be tackled successfully.’

Children who have a high BMI and stay fat are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood insulin levels – all risk factors for heart disease – by the time they reach their mid-teens, say experts.

As part of the National Child Measurement Programme children in reception class (aged four and five) and Year 6 (aged 10 and 11) are weighed and measured at school.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said all adults and children should have regular health checks in order to catch those at risk of piling on the pounds.

He said: ‘There is this very significant minority who are not only too fat, but also risking their health.

‘These are the ones that are probably the most difficult to get to because they are set firmly in their lifestyle by eating too much and exercising too little.

‘For these people, the Government’s general health message is a waste of time. They need a targeted approach.

‘The worst eaters are those in fast food outlets and those who purchase processed foods. What they [the Government] should be doing it legislating to make sure all food is as healthy as it can be, by limiting salt, fat and sugar.

‘When it comes to children, we need to intervene early to stop habits becoming ingrained.’
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This study suggests the trend of rising Body Mass Index may be slowing down in the UK.

‘However, BMI can be misleading and so waist measurement is an important way to check you’re on the right track.

‘What we do know is that obesity is a major risk factor for developing conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2408931/Britains-obese-continue-weight-despite-drop-nations-overall-obesity-rate.html#ixzz2doAIKDtq

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