Desang diabetes magazine diabetes news

NEWS

The focus on the drive to tackle obesity should be more about

health, not weight, according to Dr Oli Williams.

Dr Oli Williams, a leading

sociologist from

the East Midlands,

believes there should

be an overhaul of

current health campaigns, which he claims

focus too heavily on weight loss and not

enough on physical activity. Williams

challenges some of the most fundamental

assumptions about what it means to be

overweight. He has been involved in in

producing a comic that visualises his

research into the stigma associated with

bodyweight and which has been praised

for its engaging communication skills.

The Weight of Expectation, illustrated

by Jade Sarson, is based on the

experiences of people who attended

NHS-subsidised weight-loss groups in

one of the most deprived neighbourhoods

in England. Williams says, "I am saying

that at the moment the most common

ways that people think about and act

upon obesity are inaccurate and unhelpful.

I think people are obsessed with weight

loss, and that's a big part of the problem.

We know that the BMI scale - which is

what your GP uses to categorise you

as obese or not - is a very crude health

measure. We know that physical activity

is a much better predictor of health. For

instance, there is good evidence showing

that people who are categorised as

obese or overweight - but who are also

physically active - can experience the

same levels of health as active people

who have a so-called 'healthy' BMI. The

focus should be on health, not weight.

We should be doing more to make the

healthy choice the easy choice for all, by

addressing the social factors that largely

Weight of expectation

We should be doing

more to make the

healthy choice the

easy choice for all, by

addressing the social

factors that largely

determine people's

health and behaviour.

- Dr Oli Williams

"

NEWS

REPORT

determine people's health and behaviour."

Obesity on the rise in England with

58% of women and 68% of men classed

as overweight or obese in 2015, according

to official statistics from NHS Digital.

Government body Public Health England

welcomed the tax on sugary drinks when

it was announced in 2016 and Williams

believes that taxes which generate

money should be invested in reducing the

social inequalities that he says determine

people's health. "Most people know that

eating well and doing exercise is good for

them," says Williams. "The problem isn't

a lack of knowledge; it's a lack of capacity

to act on that knowledge, and that's

largely socially determined. If you're at the

lower end of the socio-economic scale,

your capacity to choose healthy options

is limited or compromised. We need to

approach the problem socially."

www.actwithlove.co.uk

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