Obesity In Ireland

Eating a late lunch can lead to obesity, according to a recent study carried out by researchers in Boston.

Over 420 overweight people followed a 20 week weight-loss programme for the study. Results indicate that those who ate before 3p.m lost thirty per cent more weight than those who dined after 3pm.

This is a growing epidemic in Ireland also. According to the experts, the levels of obesity amongst Irish adults and children have soared sky-high in recent years. Obesity or being overweight is the most common childhood disorder in Europe.
So exactly how many of us are overweight or obese in Ireland? The latest figures from the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland show that two out of every five Irish adults are overweight (39%) and a further one in four are said to be obese (25%). Ireland has the fourt-highest prevalence of obesity in men in the European Union and the seventh-highest for women. Amongst Irish children, 22% of five – twelve year olds are recorded as being overweight or obese.

The fact that obesity is on the rise is alarming as obesity is linked to many serious health risks including heart disease. If you are obese, you’re more likely to have gallstones, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke.
According to the Irish Heart Foundation, heart disease is Ireland’s number one killer. Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases. This is a worrying fact as the levels of heart disease in a society increase with the numbers of people who are overweight or obese.

What can we do to prevent this growing epidemic in Ireland? The number one way of preventing obesity is regular exercise. It is recommended that adults undertake at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week; this could include fast walking, jogging or swimming.

Eating healthy meals and snacks is also important for keeping the pounds off and people should focus on low-calorie, nutrient- dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s important to stay consistent with your healthy diet and exercise and to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum to ensure you don’t become part of the 39% of overweight adults in Ireland.

Stephanie Byrne

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