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Health tips with Dr Muttucumaru - BMI Advice

With the vaccination programme continuing at pace, we can be hopeful of a more normal life in the near future. However, the lockdown has taken its toll on us all both mentally and physically, and one unfortunate consequence has been the effect on our waistlines.

This is particularly relevant as it is widely known that obesity is a risk factor in respect of causing serious complications following Covid-19 infections. Obesity is a common problem that’s estimated to affect around 1 in every 4 UK adults and even around 1 in 5 children aged 10 to 11.

The most widely used method to check healthy weight is body mass index or BMI, and you can use the NHS BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your score. However, people who are very muscular can have a high BMI without much fat, so waist size can be a better indicator. Generally men with a waist size of 94cm or more and women with a waist size of 80cm or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.

It’s very important to take steps to tackle obesity because it can lead to a number of potentially life-threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer such as breast or bowel cancer, and also strokes.

So as lockdown hopefully nears its close, how can we take those first steps back to fitness and have a head start on the rest as normality edges closer? NHS UK have a wide selection of resources available, including a range of exercise videos, but there are a number of other steps you can take. These include eating a balanced calorie-controlled diet, joining a weight loss group, taking up activities such as walking, jogging or cycling for 2.5 to 5 hours a week, and also eating slowly or avoiding situations where you could be tempted to overeat. In some cases patients may also benefit from receiving psychological support from a trained healthcare professional to help change the way they think about food and eating.

There’s no quick fix for obesity and weight loss programmes take time and commitment, but don’t be discouraged. And remember even losing what seems like a small amount of weight significantly reduces your risk of developing obesity related complications and also reduces the risks of Covid complications.