People worried about their weight are being encouraged by local GPs to get to grips with the issue and participate in National Obesity Awareness Week.
This year the week lasts Until Sunday January 14.
Obesity is a common problem in the UK that's estimated to affect around one in every four adults and around one in every five children aged 10 to 11.
It is a major cause of ill health, and is closely associated with an increased risk of a range of health conditions which include:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Some cancers
The annual cost to the NHS of drugs for treatment of Type 2 Diabetes alone is £1 billion.
Obesity can also affect quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.
Dr Steve Fawcett, Medical Director of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “Obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories – particularly those in fatty and sugary foods – than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
“Obesity is an increasingly common problem because for many people modern living involves eating excessive amounts of cheap, high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting down at desks, on sofas or in cars.
“For most the best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly. But this does take time and commitment and you should not look at it as a quick fix.
“Even losing what seems like a small amount of weight, such as 3% or more of your original body weight, and maintaining this for life, can significantly reduce your risk of developing obesity-related complications.”
The best way for most people to calculate whether they are a healthy weight is by checking their BMI (Body Mass Index). The NHS has produced a free BMI calculator available online
Other free apps are available to for smartphone users.