We're all in danger of going belly-up if we don't tackle obesity, experts say
Published 11/05/2011 | 05:00
WE are in denial about our weight because being fat has become the "new normal" with the average weight now a stone more than it was 20 years ago.
Women with a waist measurement over 32 inches and men whose waist exceeds 37 inches are putting their health at risk and need to shed weight to avoid a disease-ridden life, health promotion group Safefood said yesterday.
Two out of three people in Ireland are overweight, yet only 38pc believe that is true of themselves, the group's survey of nearly 2,000 adults found.
Women are 12lbs heavier on average than they were in 1990 and men are 18lbs heavier, said Safefood human health director Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan.
A great proportion of the population are in denial, putting themselves at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as discrimination at work and hormonal and fertility problems, with even teenagers now developing gallstones, she said.
Dr Foley-Nolan added that two-thirds of those surveyed relied on their clothes feeling too tight to decide whether they were overweight, yet many were wearing loose-fitting clothes with elasticated waists or low-slung jeans that allowed them believe they were fine, with anecdotal evidence that clothes sizes were getting bigger to accommodate our delusions.
Meanwhile, research also indicates that a person's risk of being obese increases by 57pc if they have a friend who is obese, and having an obese spouse increases the risk by 37pc, Safefood said.
Obesity expert Professor Donal O'Shea said it was vital that people took action when they were modestly overweight because there was conclusive evidence that even a little excess weight had a serious impact on health -- doubling the risk of diabetes, for example.
"Because we have edged up in weight over the last 20 years, most people who are overweight think they are just fine because they look 'normal'," he said.
Safefood is distributing 250,000 measuring tapes through pharmacies nationwide to shake people out of denial and start losing weight and inches immediately.