Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, has often remarked that 25% of children entering primary school are already overweight or obese, according to the BBC, and this shows the scale of the obesity challenge facing policymakers. He has called for a ‘national conversation’ on what he terms the ‘the new smoking’, drawing in government, the food industry and consumers as well as the NHS.
This week it was revealed that the obesity rate for 10-11 year olds is actually 34% in 2013-14 and on an increasing trend from previous years.
The data comes from the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s report on the health and care of young people in England.
Doctors and other clinicians are worried about the problems which may be stored up for the future.
Big children, they say, tend to become big adults. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease often follow. There could be serious financial consequences for the NHS.
Dr Colin Michie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, told the BBC: “With this cohort of enormous children, if not obese children, coming through to adulthood, we are facing an enormous problem for those delivering clinical care. We are going to spend a great deal more money in hospitals in future because of this one problem – obesity”.
Another recent study showed that increasing numbers of young people are being admitted to hospital because of eating disorders, with most of the 2,560 who went to hospital for inpatient treatment were very young – 15 was the most common age of admission for girls and 13 for boys.
But children aged five to nine and the under-fives were also admitted.
Those who end up in hospital – often for lengthy stays – are the most severely ill, but they are just a relatively small part of the story, according to Beat, the support charity, which says that 1.6 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders. One in five will die prematurely, sometimes from the consequences of their illness and sometimes through suicide.
So how can this be addressed? One solution is weight management through hypnotherapy and the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has 1800 qualified and highly trained therapists across the UK who can help.
It is not only about losing weight but eating healthily and therapists can help their clients manage their weight with hypnosis by teaching them to feel good about themselves, whatever size they might be. They will focus on making healthy changes to diet and lifestyle that can be permanent.
But clients must realise that hypnosis for weight loss is about changing lifelong negative habits around food and body image and it cannot happen overnight or with just one session with a hypnotherapist.
The best results are often when committing to a programme of treatment. If you are overweight or your children are, contact a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory. It’s not too late.