Healthcare professionals spend a great deal of their time screening for, and treating, silent killer diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia but often ignore the primary cause of these conditions, which is often – quite literally – staring them in the face. Obesity can be seen without the need to use any fancy gadgets – we simply need to use our eyes each time we see a patient. There are essentially two main body shapes – apples and pears – each associated with different distributions of body fat. Pearshaped people carry most of their excess fat around the hips, buttocks and thighs. Apples carry most of their excess body fat around the middle; this is known as central obesity and is much riskier for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In this article we review why central obesity matters, how to measure it and management strategies.
Stopping smoking is associated with considerable health benefits and large numbers of smokers want to quit. However, concern about weight gain is one of the reasons people often give for not being able to quit smoking. It often reinforces the decision to continue smoking, particularly in women and young people who may mistakenly believe that smoking is an effective way to control their weight. Even if an individual successfully quits smoking, weight gain can often be the factor that causes relapse. What can we do to help?
This useful wall chart shows how just 5-10% weight loss improves important markers of cardiovascular health, including lipids, blood pressure, diabetes risk and inflammation.
Bariatric surgery on some obese patients with type 2 diabetes could result in lifetime savings of about £95,000 per patient, mostly due to reduced medication costs, according to data presented at the recent European Obesity Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The association between body mass index (BMI) and mortality from both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) is well accepted. Individuals with high BMIs are also at increased risk of developing other conditions such as sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, female infertility, varicose veins, gastro-oesophageal reflux and stress incontinence. BMI has been the gold standard for predicting health by measuring body weight in relation to height. However, although BMI may be helpful in estimating overall obesity, it is becoming increasingly apparent that waist-hip ratio, which estimates central obesity, is a more accurate predictor of the risk of health problems generally and CVD in particular.
The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) has announced three key actions that it wants the Government to implement in its forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy. The announcement comes as concern mounts over delays in publishing the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy.
The National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network has launched a series of hypertension profiles that allow CCGs and local authorities to see how well they are doing in detecting and treating high blood pressure compared with other similar authorities and the national average.
This case study presents an everyday clinical situation for you to review with guidance from an expert in the field.
Nutrition advice aimed at children also improves their parents’ diets according to new European research. Child-oriented dietary counselling increased the intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and decreased the saturated fat intake of parents and decreased serum total and LDL concentrations in intervention mothers compared to control mothers.
Obesity is estimated to be responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year, reducing lifespan by an average of nine years. The links between obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are well documented, but overweight and obesity also causes 6% of cancers in the UK. These figures have resulted in warnings that obesity is the new smoking when it comes to risks to health and longevity. So the problem is clear. The challenge is to put into action what works.