Obesity levels among the young raise concern

There is growing concern about global child and teenage obesity levels which have risen 10 times in the last 40 years, the latest research shows, meaning that 124 million boys and girls around the globe are too fat and they are likely to become obese adults, putting them at risk of serious health problems, say experts.

The analysis, published in the Lancet, is the largest of its kind and looks at obesity trends in over 200 countries. In the UK, one in every 10 young people aged five to 19, is obese. Researchers from the World Obesity Forum also warn that the global cost of treating ill health caused by obesity will exceed £920bn every year from 2025.

Although child obesity rates appear to be stabilising in many high-income European countries including the UK, reports the BBC, they are accelerating at an alarming rate in many other parts of the world.

Lead researcher Prof Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London says the wide availability and promotion of cheap, fattening food is one of the main drivers. The researchers found that, that if current world trends continue, ‘obese’ will soon be more common than ‘underweight’ and the number of underweight girls and boys worldwide has been decreasing since a peak in the year 2000.

In 2016, 192m young people were underweight – still significantly more than the number of young people who were obese, but that looks set to change. Globally, in 2016 an additional 213m young people were overweight although still below the threshold for obesity.

Co-researcher Dr Harry Rutter, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “This is a huge problem that will get worse. Even skinny people are heavier than they would have been ten years ago. We have not become more weak-willed, lazy or greedy. The reality is the world around us is changing.”

Dr Fiona Bull from the World Health Organization called for tough action to crack down on ‘calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food’ and promote more physical activity.

Fad diets have been proven over the years not to work and the combination of portion control, the right foods and exercise seems to be the best route and achieving this mix can be done through clinical hypnotherapy, says the National Council for Hypnotherapy.

The professional association is the biggest in the UK and has more than 1,800 fully trained and qualified therapists on its register who can help young people and teens overcome their problems in this regard.

Says the NCH: “Managing weight loss is one of the most effective results of hypnotherapy. Rather than just reducing calories that you are likely to put on again in the longer term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat.

“If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then a hypnotherapist can help you understand why and help you create new healthy self-management techniques.”

The NCH adds that as well as stopping compulsive eating, hypnosis can increase the motivation for exercise and can also help people reduce portion sizes so they lose weight healthily, steadily and for the long term.

Over eating can be a physical condition or it can be an unwanted behaviour which, adds the NCH, can be treated effectively with hypnotherapy as the therapist will ask about when you eat, what you eat, what triggers you to reach for food when you are not hungry, or how often you unconsciously polish off a packet of biscuits and avoid doing exercise.

“The therapist will then put together a programme of treatment that will motivate you to exercise more and eat less. Hypnotherapy for weight loss is about changing your habit with food for the rest of your life, so unlike crash diets it changes the root of your compulsive eating or lack of interest in exercise so you are free to enjoy the rest of your life – eating and exercising sensibly without having to think about it.”

To contact an NCH therapist near you, simply click here to access the NCH directory and follow the instructions.