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Why are we getting fatter?

Obesity is now reaching epidemic proportions in the western world. There are estimated to be 90 million obese people in the USA and 9 million in the UK and the numbers are growing.

The rate of increase in the UK over several years now means that 18% of women and 16% of men are obese and that a further 34% of women and 45% of men are overweight. The prevalence of obesity among adults in England more than doubled in recent years.

Recent changes in lifestyle are mainly to blame. The increased availability and greater consumption of high-fat, high-sugar, high-energy foods combined with a dramatic fall-off in physical exercise is the main problem.

Obesity is becoming particularly worrying among children where profound reductions in physical activity have led to a quarter of all children being overweight.

Genetic factors can account for obesity in some families. This can be seen when most or all members of a family are overweight; however over-eating and under activity are still important factors. Patients with a genetic predisposition to be obese will find it harder or need a little extra help to lose weight and maintain their new body weight.