The rising "obesity and diabetes epidemic" and weight-loss surgery are rarely away from our newspaper headlines and TV screens. As a weight-loss surgeon I frequently encounter hostile reactions from other clinicians and even patients themselves arguing against the very concept of weight-loss surgery.
Do you know what I am heartily sick of (excuse the very weak pun)? The plethora of health studies and warnings which have become so much part of the daily media diet that no day is complete without at least four major health stories, in three of which the advice/findings inevitably contradict each other.
Halloween is one of the few occasions throughout the year where it's considered socially acceptable to overindulge on chocolate and sweets; for kids and parents alike. But social tradition doesn't make your body any better at coping with such a high and fast influx of sugars.
Sensationalist headlines around Jamie Oliver calling for a sugar tax are not helpful for the public health debate, as it makes the situation seem far too simplistic, when life never is. In the 1970s and 80s the health message was that fat was bad and the people should move their eating habits in the direction of carbohydrates.
Sugar is and will always be a treat, just like a glass of wine or the occasional cigarette but when there are equally bad effects on the health then surely its time that we call a cut on the amount that we consume. It may taste sweet initially, but the long term effects which aren't being showed to us should make you feel bitter.
Whilst many people know the positive effects of exercise, there can often be a number of barriers, which prevent them from being active, and these often tend to be more psychological than physical. Many people have negative memories of school PE lessons or perhaps they feel guilty about spending years paying for gym memberships they have hardly used.
The motivation I needed was a determination to do what I could to keep my own children motivated to be fit and active and healthy and to keep myself in that way, to hopefully be there for as many of their milestones, achievements and adventures that spread ahead of them.
In the UK and like many countries around the world there is an ongoing rise in diabetes and obesity rates. Diabetes has risen by approximately 60% in the last 10 years and obesity stats indicate over 64% of adults are overweight or obese. Having worked in the health industry for several years there seems to be several common themes I have noticed...
The soft drinks giant has seen a growing movement around the world against consumption of sugary beverages and is now recruiting prominent scientists as part of its fight back. Their message is that obesity is not caused by the foods or drinks we are consuming, it is caused by our failure to balance those foods with exercise. This is a transparent attempt to confuse people about the real drivers of the obesity epidemic.
After waging war on doctors and nurses over their working hours, it seems that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has now turned his attention towards public health services designed to prevent weight-related health problems.
Now I am all for changing up the imagery we see in the sport and fitness world and having positive role models when it comes to physical activity at every size for a change, but the fact she is a professional model somehow deters from the power of this statement.
As a public health professional I need to help change people's attitudes to sugar. Because if as a country we don't address our love of sweet food and drink, obesity levels will keep rising and the human and financial cost of ill health will also keep rising.
The UK is shockingly behind other developed countries in terms of children's health outcomes, with five more children dying per day than in Sweden. So many health issues facing our children are preventable - yet the Government has just cut £200 million from public health spending and with it many of the resources we need to educate children about their health.
Have we been asking the right questions about protecting our health? Are more doctors and nurses the answer, or extra NHS funding? The election debates barely touched on health issues, particularly inequality and healthy lifestyles.
I often maintain, that the greatest long-term threat to our National Health Service comes not from the usual range of suspects people would immediately think of, but from diabetes and obesity...
A bit of a statement to be sure but I for one am beginning to wonder this very thing. I am sick and tired of picking up the newspapers only to see a negative spin on a morbidly obese individual.