The recent news that obesity and diabetes drugs and treatment has cost NHS Scotland a staggering £230 million over the last three years hammers home the scale of the UK’s obesity crisis. And, as front line fitness evangelists we felt this needed some additional coverage, just in case the need for more places to go to get fit for free needed underlining any more.
For a number of years, the UK’s growing obesity problem has been the focus of a huge range of think tanks, research teams and debates within the media. The UK is rapidly following in America’s footsteps and this shocking statistic shows very clearly just how quickly rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses are rising in Scotland.
This latest news also came with the worrying statistic that nearly a quarter of a million Scots now have diabetes – roughly 5% of the entire population, with a majority of sufferers having type 2 diabetes. This illness has strong links with obesity, as anyone who has a higher than recommended BMI is up to 80 times more likely to develop it.
This amount of money may sound shocking, but the fact is that the true cost of obesity is likely to be far higher and is very difficult to pin down. Days off work due to ill health cost the economy dearly, along with the strain on public funding for those on long-term sick leave or those needing costly treatment because they have fallen into the obesity trap.
Because this issue has been so thoroughly debated and discussed for years in the media we are all well aware of how to prevent ourselves from becoming overweight – a healthy diet and regular exercise. Despite this, the nation is still piling on the pounds.
Many leading health organisations agree that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise several times a week, along with cutting out food high in sugar and saturated fat, can do wonders for the waistline. With this in mind, every school, local authority and business has an obligation to join the fight against fat and ensure that pupils, constituents and workers have access to playgrounds and exercise equipment so they can stay fit and active.
From children through to senior citizens, everyone should have access to the right fitness facilities to help them lead a healthy lifestyle – something that will benefit the whole of the UK in the long term.
It’s clear that anyone struggling to maintain a healthy weight can’t go it alone, but with access to the right play equipment, play areas, and outdoor gyms we can turn this around – it isn’t too late to save the nation.