My Weight, My Future Campaign Challenges the Nation to 'Know My BMI'

Published on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:47
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

As awareness increases around the UK's obesity epidemic, Obesity Management Association (OMA) and today launch their first national campaign, My Weight, My Future, to highlight the rapid rise in obesity and call for urgent action from individuals, parents and families before the NHS buckles under the pressure.

The campaign will seek to change public attitudes towards obesity, urging everyone to take responsibility for themselves and their families.  It sets a challenge to the nation to 'Know My BMI,' arguing that every person should know their own Body Mass Index and that of each member of their family, measuring it at least once every three months.  The #knowmybmi Twitter handle goes live today.

The UK has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, with one in four adults and a third of eleven year olds classified as obese. Obesity already costs the NHS in excess of £5 billion a year and in this difficult economic climate, our health service is struggling to cope with the strain.

In England, 24% of men and 26% of women are obese, while 65% of men and 58% of women are either overweight or obese, according to the latest Health Survey for England.

Robert Houtman, Trustee of Obesity Management Association said:

"We cannot go on letting our National Health Service pick up the pieces as weight balloons in both children and adults.  The My Weight, My Future campaign encourages individuals and families to take action now, to find out their BMI and take positive steps to address obesity."

Steve Tew, Chairman of Food Advisors added:

"We can only tackle a problem if we know there is one. In our fast food culture many people have lost sight of what it means to be overweight or obese. As average weight swells across the UK we are putting ourselves and our families at risk.  My Weight, My Future is all about getting a grip on this, taking responsibility and tackling the obesity epidemic from the ground up."

Isabel Carlin, 41 - a mother from West London – measured her eight year old daughter's BMI for the first time after hearing about the campaign, and was shocked to discover that her daughter was overweight.

Speaking about the results she said: "We always thought that our eight year old daughter was a healthy weight.

"After hearing about this campaign, we decided to measure our BMI as a family and we were quite shocked by the result.

"It turns out our daughter falls into the overweight category.  Although we watch our weight as parents, we have definitely been guilty of giving in too easily to our daughter's sweet tooth and taste for unhealthy snacks.

"Now we're going to do something to change that.  Our only regret is that we didn't do this sooner. "I urge all parents to do the same and check their family's BMI."

Tam Fry, Chairman of the Child Growth Foundation and spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum said: "Everyone should make a point of checking their BMI to see if they are keeping within a healthy weight range. If they are not, that should be the time to do something about it.

"It is quite easy unconsciously to put on extra pounds and, once you have, put yourself at risk of acquiring the nasty diseases associated with obesity.

"If you have children, ensuring that their BMI stays safely within a healthy range is, arguably, even more important."

In support of the campaign, Professor David Haslam, GP, Bariatric Physician and Chair of the National Obesity Forum said:

"I vigorously support this campaign, because it combines the empowerment of patients, with the knowledge and skills of the medical profession, to provide a novel and exciting approach to sustainable weight management."

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