According to a 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe. The study suggests that obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and by 2050, more than half the population could be obese.
The most commonly used measure for overweight and obese adults is the Body Mass Index (BMI) which measures body fat based on the height and weight of an individual man or woman. A person’s BMI is based on weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2). It is important to note that the BMI should be taken as a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same body fat percentage in different individuals.
BMI calculators are a simple way of working out your BMI. The NHS has a free tool which you can access here.
There is no single index for the measurement of overweight and obese children and adolescents because their bodies undergo a number of physiological changes as they grow. However, the WHO does include different methods by which a child's healthy weight can be measured. These can be accessed here.
It's very important to take steps to tackle obesity because, as well as causing physical challenges as a result of reduced mobility, it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as: type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, as well as some types of cancer including breast cancer and bowel cancer.
In addition to the physical impact which obesity can have, it can also affect your mental wellbeing and lead to psychological problems such as depression and low self-esteem. Tackling the problem head on can be life changing.
Obesity is generally caused by an imbalance between calories consumed, particularly from fatty or sugary foods, and calories burned through exercise or any form of physical activity. Excess calories are stored in the body as fat. The problem is compounded by our modern lifestyles which are often inactive and involve the consumption of foods that are high in calories.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but how does stopping smoking improve your life?
In order to maintain a healthy weight it is important to keep the balance of calories in and calories out, at an even level.
On average, a physically active man needs about 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, whereas the average physically active woman needs about 2,000 calories a day. The less active you are, the less calories you burn, so the less you need to eat in order to maintain a healthy weight.
To get an idea of how many calories we consume at a single sitting, let’s compare two meal types.
•Meal A: A medium sized salmon steak, a handful of new potatoes with a knob of butter, broccoli and carrots Approximate calorie content = 700 •Meal B: Burger, chips and a milkshake Approximate calorie content = 1,500
As you can see, one poorly chosen meal can wipe out most of your daily allowance, and that’s not even factoring in dessert!
When we think about our calorie consumption, we rarely think about those contained in the alcohol we drink. According to Drink Aware 4.6 units (the recommendation is to have no more than 14 units per week) equates to 318 calories. A regular habit of a 175ml glass of wine with dinner every evening, or a couple of pints after work, could see your weekly calorie consumption boosted by 1,590 and 2,615 calories respectively – and that’s not even taking the weekend’s consumption into account. It’s easy to see how the weight can slowly creep on.
Top tips to cut your alcohol consumption:
•Swap booze for your favourite non-alcoholic, calorie free drink - and stock up! •Save alcohol for special occasions •Try to have an alcohol-free day twice a week •Remember you don’t have to finish the bottle •Avoid going to the pub after work •When bored or stressed have a workout instead of drinking, or go for a walk to help clear your head •Have your first drink after starting to eat - not before •Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks •Switch to lower strength drinks •When you do drink, set yourself a limit - and stick to it
Many people believe that they are predisposed to weight gain as a result of their genetic make-up and while it is true that there are some genetic conditions that can cause obesity, they are extremely rare (see below).
Generally speaking, there's usually no real reason why most people can't lose weight. However, it may be more difficult to lose weight if you have developed a certain relationship with food, based on learned behaviours such as meal size or finishing every meal with a desert. It is important to understand that, with some effort, these habits can be broken.
If you are looking to lose weight, then a combination of Xenical or Orlistat prescription-only weight loss medication, dieting, exercise and multi-vitamin pills may be right for you. Prescription weight loss pills can only be prescribed if you are unable to lose weight naturally through a balanced diet and exercise. Weight loss medication may also be prescribed if you suffer from health issues caused by weight problems. This medication will not be prescribed for those who would like to lose a small amount of weight for cosmetic purposes.
Alli or Orlos, which contain half the amount of active ingredient of Xenical/Orlistat, is available over the counter, subject to weight and age restrictions. Allior Orlos should only be taken alongside a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet.
You can purchase the medication from Oxford Online Pharmacy, in our Weight Loss Treatment category , subject to the successful completion of a patient questionnaire by one of our healthcare practitioners.
If your objective is to lose weight and keep it off, you should aim to keep to both a sustained diet and exercise program. The NHS advises two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises. How much physical activity you need to do depends on your age.
Further information can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx
Regular exercise is also recommended when taking prescription weight loss pills along with a long-term change in the way you manage your diet, in order to lose weight and keep it off.
Our online doctor will only consider prescribing weight loss pills if you have been unable to lose weight through maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There also other parameters which the GP will take into consideration prior to prescribing.
When taken as part of a healthy lifestyle plan, Xenical/Orlistat prescription weight loss medication can help you to lose weight and keep it off. Prescribed weight loss tablets, used for obesity management (Orlistat/Xenical) work by preventing fat’s from being broken down. In preventing them from being broken down, they can no longer be absorbed by the body – instead they are excreted from the body unchanged. The mechanism by which they work means that it is really important that you ensure a low or no fat diet as much as possible. Not sticking to such a diet could lead to one of the common side effects of an oily leakage from the rectum (this is the fat leaving the body unchanged).
Other tablets, such as the XLS -Medical Fat Binder, readily bind with dietary fat creating a fat fibre complex. This then becomes too large for the body to absorb in the small intestine and is similarly excreted from the body.
Combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, prescription weight loss pills help to stimulate an average weight loss of 5-10% of total body weight within a year. This amount of weight loss can also help to drastically improve blood pressure levels, blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.
As well as cutting your alcohol consumption, making healthier meal choices and taking regular exercise can dramatically improve your chances of weight-loss. Changing your attitude towards food will also ensure your longer-term health, as well as helping other family members to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Swap processed and prepackaged foods that are high in both fat and sugar content, for nourishing foods that are low in saturated fats and full of natural sugars, such as fruit and nuts. You can find further information, tips and resources on the NHS Choices weight loss web site:
Be careful with the calories
We are all aware that weight gain isn’t just about calorie intake, but being careful with how many calories you are consuming can help you to make a healthier choice. Stuck between a cup of black tea or a hot chocolate with cream? Compare the calories (hint one has zero calories, the other a whopping 500)!
Don’t add it to your basket
Replace unhealthy snacks with a healthier alternative. If it’s not in your house, then you and your family won't be able to eat it. Stock up on fruit, nuts, rice-cakes and do some home baking!
ANY exercise is helpful
Walk faster, use the stairs, park further away, raise and lower your arms ten times every hour, it all adds up.
Put less on your plate
Eat when you are hungry and slow down. Listen to your body and stop when you are feeling slightly full.
It is never as hard as it seems
Even if you have a lot of weight to lose, losing just a few pounds can give you the essential motivation to become the new, healthier you. If you have more to lose, it comes off quicker too!
Cut out the sugary drinks. Swap to water or, if that’s asking too much, take the zero sugar option.
Medical conditions that may contribute to weight gain include: an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and Cushing's syndrome – a rare disorder that causes the over-production of steroid hormones.
However, if conditions such as these are properly diagnosed and treated, they should pose less of a barrier to weight loss.
Certain medication can contribute to weight gain. These include corticosteroids, medications for epilepsy and diabetes, and some medications used to treat mental illness – including antidepressants and medicines for schizophrenia.
Oxford Online Pharmacy provides access to various tests which can help you to get a better understanding of the underlying causes of your obesity.
•Blood and urine tests to check for signs of diabetes or other health conditions •Blood tests to check for hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism
We stock very easy to use self-testing kits that you can use at home for further information click on the link:
Q: What is obesity?
A: The term "obese" describes a person who's very overweight, with a lot of body fat.
Q: What causes obesity?
A: Obesity is caused by the over eating of unhealthy, fatty food.
Q: Who should take Xenical/Orlistat
A: Xenical/Orlistat is recommended for individuals with a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 30kg/m2.
Q: How much weight I will lose?
A: Clinical studies show that Xenical/Orlistat can help you to lose around 10% of your body weight in one year.
Q: How does weight loss medication work?
A: Orlistat, is a lipase inhibitor and works by binding to specific enzymes that break down fats (triglycerides). As a result, about 25% of the consumed fat is not absorbed and passes through the digestive system and is naturally excreted by the body. Since the calories associated with this unabsorbed fat are not used (1 gram of fat=9 calories), the number of calories that enter your system is reduced. Orlistat doesn’t limit the absorption of calories from protein or carbohydrate. So, if you replace calories from fat by eating carbohydrates or protein, you will not get the benefits and will lose less weight.
Q: Are there any special instructions when taking Xenical/Orlistat?
A: The recommended dosage is one capsule three times a day with food. Medication should be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle, reduce the amount of fat in your diet and continue to monitor your weight.
Q: Will Xenical/Orlistat work if I eat very low fat food or skip my meal?
A: No, Xenical/Orlistat will only work if there is fat in your food. If your meal does not contain fat or you are unable to eat a proper meal do not take your Xenical/Orlistat capsule.
Q: What are the side effects?
A: The main side effects of Xenical/Orlistat include gas, fatty or oily stools and an increased rate of bowel movements. If any of these persists and you feel concerned, please talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Q: Is there anyone that should avoid Xenical?
A: Xenical/Orlistat is not recommended if you are breast-feeding or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.