UK Obesity Rates On The Rise

Obesity in the UK is alarmingly high, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that the UK is the most overweight country in Western Europe with around 27% of the population classed as clinically obese.

More shockingly, rates have risen by 92 % since 1990, compared to 65% in the USA, making the UK one of the most overweight nations in the world.

The physiological cause of weight obesity is simple maths: eating too much + moving too little = weight gain. You only have to look at the lifestyle of many modern UK families to understand where the problem lies:

Convenience Foods

We are experiencing a convenience food epidemic. Fast foods and supermarket ready meals give us a quick and easy meal solution. The problem is these convenience foods are full of salt, sugar and saturated fats, and have very little nutritional value.

Portion sizes are also growing. In a bid to end the ‘super size snack culture’ of giant chocolate bars and maxi packets of crisps and confectionary, the NHS has already ordered hospitals to stop stocking single items over 250 calories in canteens, shops and vending machines.

Sugary, fizzy drinks are also a contributing factor to today’s obesity crisis. Soft drinks are one of the biggest causes of childhood obesity. Just one can of soft drink is equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar! In a bid to tackle the issue, a sugar tax levy was introduced in April 2018, taxing drinks companies on the amount of sugar in the drinks they manufacture.

Sedentary Lifestyle

With the increase in desk jobs, time spent online, watching TV and playing computer games, the modern life is more sedentary than ever. Advancing technology also plays a part, with smart appliances reducing our physical need to perform everyday tasks even further.

Effects on the NHS

According to recent data published by the NHS, the number of patients admitted to hospitals for obesity and weight-related conditions has risen by 18%, with around 617,000 admissions in 2016-17.

The report also states that out of 10,705 admissions where obesity is named as the primary diagnosis, more than half of those cases were for bariatric surgery, while the majority of the cases are linked to weight-related issues such as heart problems, type 2 diabetes and joint problems.

Growing need for specialised equipment

As well as the massive financial burden this adds to the NHS, there’s also logistical factors to consider. Conventional equipment such as trolleys, beds, and treatment chairs for dental, podiatry and ophthalmology patients have a weight limit of 140kgs and don’t have the capacity to comfortably support obese patients. And especially where dentistry is concerned, this means that obese patients may be missing out on vital care they need.

Design Specific addresses the issues of treating obese patients with bespoke bariatric dental chairs and wheelchair recliners designed with weight and mobility specific features to enhance the treatment, handling and comfort of both patients and staff.

For more information on our specialist dental chairs, contact us today.