In our new regular feature, Dr Simon Gazeley, a GP at Springfield Surgery in the Canalside Healthcare Centre in Bingley, will be sharing with Bingley Hub readers exclusive advice on topical health issues and giving his tips for a healthy life.
Simon trained as a doctor in Newcastle, has worked in the north east and Australia before coming to Yorkshire in 2000 to finish his GP training. He has worked at Springfield Surgery for the past eight years and lives in Ilkley with his wife (also a GP) and four children.
In our regular health feature, Dr Simon Gazeley, a GP at Springfield Surgery, is sharing with Prosider readers exclusive advice on topical health issues.
In this article Simon notes that TV and radio are telling us we’re all getting fatter and unhealthier, and so are our children.
Obesity is something I’ve a personal interest in: I was developing a rather generous middle-aged spread and felt it was time to do something about it. Several months later, and a few stone lighter – and I feel better for it.
So this month I discuss obesity, and what options you have if you want to lose weight.
Obesity is a common problem. Doctors use a measurement called body mass index (BMI) to assess your weight. This is calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by your height in metres squared. If the answer is over 25 you are classed as overweight, and at BMI 30, you are obese. In the UK over one in three adults is overweight, and one in four is obese. At least one in seven children is obese.
Why does it matter? Being overweight significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancers and even dementia.
Patients often ask me whether weight problems are genetic, or if they have a different ‘metabolic rate’. Weight problems can be related to medical conditions such as thyroid disease, but this is very uncommon.
Usually the simple answer is eating too much, not exercise enough, or both.
What can you do if you’re overweight?
- Eat less food. Write down absolutely everything that passes your lips for one day. That spoonful of sugar, blob of mayo, and even the milk in your tea all add to your dietary intake. You will easily see where to cut back the avoidable calories. But still eat regularly and don’t skip meals.
- Eat better food. Check the labels for sugar and fat content. Saturated fat (red meat, sausages or burgers) should be kept to an absolute minimum. Complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta, oats) and proteins (chicken, fish, beans) are good at keeping you feeling full.
- Drink less alcohol. There are as many calories in two and a half pints of beer or three small glasses of wine as in a Big Mac. If you’re drinking most nights, that’s a lot of extra calories.
- Exercise at least three times a week. It doesn’t have to be marathons – one of my patients ditched the car and refused to take lifts, and it worked.
For more advice see your doctor.
Useful websites: www.bbc.co.uk
With so many fad diets, extreme exercise regimes, personal trainers around these days it’s hard to know which way to turn. Your Doctor should always be your first stop if you’re worried, they will help give you the best advice to turn the tide.
Over the next few weeks we will be publishing more Health, Weight & Fitness related articles… As Bingley Hub Director Simon Harrup fights to get fit for the summer and trains in preparation for The Yorkshire 10k Mud Run on the 11th May.