In this section
- Overweight is the new normal
- Setting a pattern from early age
- This affects dads way beyond ‘preg-man-cy’
Overweight is the new normal
In the UK, 1 in 4 adults are obese according to the NHS. Today’s obesity levels are more than three times what they were in 1980, when only 6% of men and 8% of women were obese. Professor Terence Stephenson in Measuring Up, a report on the nation’s obesity crisis by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges states the picture for dad’s health in even plainer terms:
Elsewhere in the world, similar obesity statistics are emerging. In Australia a staggering 63.4 percent of adults were overweight or obese. That’s almost two in three adults! This is a significant increase from 1995, which was 56.3 percent, illustrating how much worse the problem is getting. The situation is even more stark in the US, where approximately 3 in 4 men (74%) now considered to be overweight or obese.
- The rising levels of obesity in the UK (NHS)
- Australia’s Obesity problem (Huffington Post Australia)
- USA’s Obesity problem (US Government)
Setting a pattern from early age
The effects of obesity don’t just impact our health as dads, but they heavily influence the long term health of our own children.
“Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults,” says Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford.
40% of children across the world inherit obesity from their parents, and the consequences of this for our children’s health include diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
A leading group on children’s health, the RSCPH, recently published their ‘state of child health report’ which highlighted a range of actions needed to get our children healthier.
Melissa Milner spent some time with daddiLife to discuss the findings:
“Although the overall health of children in the UK has improved over the last 30 years, we’re still not performing as well as our western European counterparts. 1 in 5 starting primary school are overweight or obese, which rises to 1 in 3 when they arrive at secondary school. This carries with it an increased risk of life-long health problems such as type 2 diabetes.
This is resulting in some pretty grave consequences, and becoming a state wide problem:
This affects dads way beyond ‘Preg-man-cy’
Most people who become obese put on weight gradually between the ages of 20 and 40, and it’s well known that becoming a dad means an increased chance of weight gain. Dad’s are increasingly susceptible to ‘pregmancy’ when their partner is pregnant, and pile on the pounds in those 9 months at the same rate as their partners. But the dad health problem is about more than just short term weight gain, and in a large-scale study that tracked more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period, men who didn’t become dads actually lost weight over the same time period!
Lead author Craig Garfield, from Northeaster University had this to say on the results:
We need to ensure that health is a crucial goal in making our family priority meaningful. A healthy lifestyle is now an INVESTMENT, not a cost, and it needs to start with the right mindset.
- Yes, men gain weight when they become dads (Washington Post)
- Can men really have pregnancy symptoms? (Huffington Post)
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