According to a recent 2017 article by the Daily Telegraph, 10% of all deaths in the United Kingdom are as a result of obesity and it costs the National Health Service in excess of £5,000,000,000, that's 5 Billion pounds a year, to treat.
In fact, according to a 2013 United Nations' Report entitled 'The State of Food and Agriculture', the United Kingdom has the the highest levels of obesity in Europe with an obesity rate of 24.9% with Ireland chasing closely on their tails with a rate of 24.5% and Spain also not far behind with a rate of 24.1%.
The report also went onto to say that with obesity rates in the United Kingdom more than trebling in the last three decades, future projections suggest that by the 2050s, more than half the population could be classified as obese. The report used the 2013 World Health Organisation definition of obesity which states that being obese and overweight can be defined as "abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health". The terms overweight and obese in the definition were measured by the use of the Body Mas index (BMI). A high BMI is predictive of certain illnesses such as Cardiovascular Disease including heart disease, Diabetes and Cancer. Cancer is believed to the UK's biggest killer with over 40% of deaths annually, see NHS Link.
In this respect, being a healthy weight is not just a matter of aesthetics and looking good but being over weight has real health implications and can not only be disabling at best but can cause an early death.
Gender and Age Differences
According to a 2009 study entitled 'Sex differences in obesity and the regulation of energy homeostasis', sex differences were found between the sexes. Unfortunately for women, the levels of obesity were found to be higher in women than men and there were also differences in distribution of fat between men and women. The report went onto to say that the differences could be explained by gonadal steroids or sex steroids, but more research is needed because some of the differences may also be due to socio-cultural factors, chromosomal differences and there is also the possibility that the consumption of high fat diets during pregnancy could effect the child's chances of becoming obese later.
However, A January 2017 paper 'Obesity Statistics' published by by Carl Baker for the The House of Common's Library, said that obesity rates in England in 2015 were higher for men than women with men having rates of obesity at 68% compared to 58% for women. Although, the bad news was that women were more likely to be morbidly obese than men. In the same January 2017 paper 'Obesity Statistics', Baker wrote that people in the age group 55 years old to 64 years old were more likely to be obese than any other group with the 16 years to 24 years old group being the least likely to be obese.
Obesity tends to run in families but this is not necessarily as a result of genetics. Family members will normally have grown up in the same households, eating the same foods and developing the same unhealthy eating habits. These unhealthy lifestyle choices can later be taught to subsequent children and the pattern repeats itself.
Those suffering from obesity and struggling to lose weight are faced with a myriad of diets including The Paleo Diet, The Vegan Diet, Low-Carb Diets, The Dukan Diet, The Ultra Low-Fat Diet, The Atkins Diet, The HCG Diet and The Zone Diet. This is not an exhaustive list and because they all advocate different ways of losing weight such as fat free or high protein or high carb or low carb or high fat. The list of different diets can not only be daunting but also frustrating and the science behind them is not always easy to understand.
In general terms, obesity is caused by consuming more calories than expended. For this reason exercise is often as it increases expenditure. Often people will decrease calorie consumption at the same time as increasing exercise to create a double whammy in terms of weight loss. Unfortunately, if not done correctly people may feel fatigue from not consuming enough calories due to increased exercise.Obesity is not just as simple as consuming more calories than expended, research suggests that the amount of sleep and stress a person has can also impact negatively their weight. As already mentioned, age and gender also plays a role in weight gain and the science behind weight gain is complex.
To aid with weight loss and weight control, Orlistat was developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche. Roche sells the worldwide prescription version of the drug, which was approved by the FDA in 1999, under the brand name of Xenical with a dosage of 120mg. Roche also signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare for over the counter use of of the drug in the United states. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare received FDA approval in 2007 to sell the new drug over the counter at a quantity of 60mg within the United states under the brand name Alli. The name Alli is pronounced Al-eye like the word ally and the name was chosen in order to represent the partnership between the drug and the consumer because Orlistat works better when the person using the medication follows a weight loss program such as calorie controlled diet. Roche also agreed to allow GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare to sell the drug over the counter in non-US countries excluding Japan. Alli / Orlistat was given a license by the European commission in 2008 and first appeared in the UK in 2009.
With claims that people can lose up to 3lbs a week, the medicine created a lot of interest. It works as a fat binder and there are claims that it can interfere with body's absorption of fat between 25% to 30%. It is taken three times a day and there have been some suggestions that when using Orlistat, people may want to include a multivitamin as it has been shown to also interfere with vitamin absorption.
There are a group of people who should not take Orlistat which includes those who already have difficulty absorbing nutrients as well as breastfeeding women, people with liver problems and also people taking certain medications such as anti-coagulants. It is advised that anyone purchasing Orlistat over the counter should have a conversation with the pharmacist or even speak to their doctor.