Overcoming Obesity in Northern Ireland

9th, October 2015

As part of his weekly health column, Dr. Roger Brown, Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital, shares his insight into some of the causes of and treatments for obesity.

As part of his weekly health column, Dr. Roger Brown, Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital, shares his insight into some of the causes of and treatments for obesity.

 

Are you overweight? Did you know that between 2003 and 2013, 7 times more men and 10 times more women were obese with the biggest age group being the 35-55? Perhaps more worrying is that 14% of children between 2 and 15 years old are categorised as obese.

 

The NHS choices website has described this as an “obesity crisis". It is estimated that by 2050, if nothing is done to change our lifestyles and habits, half of the population will be obese.

 

The main reasons for this crisis are the diet changes in the last 30 years with increasing fats, sugars and salt in our diets and a reduction in exercise. Did you know that one can of fizzy juice provides 1/7 of the daily recommendation for calorie intake, and a pint of beer 1/10?

 

Not only does obesity often lead to more health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and osteoarthritis of the lower limbs, in 2012, obesity reduced life expectancy in Northern Ireland by an average of 9 years. Surely something can be done about this?

 

People need to recognise when they are overweight or obese and decide to do something about it. Clearly exercise is important, but it is essential to cut down on the food intake too. 

 

There are various excellent non-medical diet classes and support groups which can help aid weight-loss. A programme which has been adopted by many private clinics is the Counterweight Programme, managed by Dieticians. This has evidence of consistent results with patients over a prolonged period of time.

 

For morbidly obese patients, there are various surgical procedures used to aid weight reduction including Bariatric Surgery and Gastric Bands. For many people it works extremely well, however, it still has to be part of a healthy new outlook if it is to be totally successful. Patients are carefully selected on both physical and mental health grounds and only a very few have these procedures carried out within the NHS. Surgical procedures are also available in the private sector, but the same selection rules apply, and not just everyone who wants one of these procedures will have one, it has to be a clinical decision made by the Surgeon and/ or Psychologist.

 

If you are successful in losing weight there are possible issues with excess skin, and unfortunately as this is seen as a "cosmetic" issue, it is rarely treated within the NHS. This is something which can cause psychological issues and can spoil the joy of having lost so much weight. This is something which people can explore within the private sector, such as Kingsbridge Private Hospital, where Surgeons can perform cosmetic procedures to remove excess skin.

 

If you are overweight or obese, any sustained reduction in weight will bring about health improvements, so please consider putting in some effort into getting your weight down and your exercise up… your life may well depend on it!

 

Dr. Brown is a Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital Belfast, available from 9-8pm Monday to Friday and 9-5pm Saturday.

 

Find out more about the 5-star Kingsbridge Private Hospital


Can we help?