Obesity and your immunity

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Looks like we are all on a diet.

The government has, yet again, decided that it needs to do something about our health and our weight problem.

But this time it feels different.

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic researchers are beginning to understand the impact that carrying excess weight has on our immune systems. It is estimated that nearly two thirds of people in the UK are overweight or obese. By the end of primary school it is likely that one in five children will be obese.

Early studies point towards the risk of carrying excess weight and (1) becoming more ill from COVID-19 and (2) being less able to fight off the COVID-19 virus in the first place.

But that’s not the whole story. Factor in the link between being overweight and the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer and the picture is very gloomy.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is widely used and is a good measure to check if you are a healthy weight. But it’s possible to have a high BMI even though you have more muscle to fat (muscle and fat weigh the same but muscle takes up much less space in your body so you can pack more muscle tissue into a smaller space).

The NHS recommends using waist size to determine if a person is carrying excess fat.

You are more likely to develop obesity- related health problems if,

  • You are male and have a waist size of 94cm/ 37 inches or more

  • You are female and have a waist size of 80cm/ 31.5 inches or more  

Four Common Sense Hacks To Achieve A Healthier Weight

Reduce portion size of food: chunky foods eg.apples, need more chewing, giving the body time to send signals to the brain to say when it is full

Eat slightly more protein: eat protein-rich foods and you will delay hunger pangs

Eat more vegetables: when your gut is busy breaking down the fibre it helps to produce two hormones known to suppress our appetite

Take a little more exercise each day: on average we spend 7.5hrs/day sitting down
eg. watching TV, eating, driving, working at a
computer or other device. This sedentary lifestyle is what the Department of Health calls a ‘Silent Killer’.

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