It’s never too late to care about excess body weight…. even over the age of 50. The last Scottish Health Survey reported that 65% of Scots were overweight (of these 29% were obese) and in men aged 65 to 74 this gure rose to 85% (with 41% obese). There are many good reasons why all of us should be interested in addressing body weight including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and 13 types of cancer. More importantly, we now have a growing body of evidence to show that weight management can prevent/delay type 2 diabetes presenting in the rst place and that effective weight loss programmes can reverse the disease. Modest, intentional weight loss has also been shown to decrease risk of breast cancer (even after the age of 50) and the more severe treatment of bariatric surgery has been demonstrated to reduce cancers by 33% (with highest reductions in post-menopausal breast, colon, endometrial and pancreatic cancers).
Weight loss can be tricky, but it can be achieved – interventions developed by university teams in Scotland such as Football Fans in Training, BeWEL and the ActWELL programme (which is currently being offered in breast screening clinics) have demonstrated that, with the right approach, the over 50s can lose weight, but support is needed. Whether it’s family, peers or other football fans the more support the better because we have to run the gauntlet of our obesogenic environment. Food and sweetened drinks (and memorable promotions) from garages, vending, worksite cafes, local cafes, corner shops, colleagues, and canteens are there to taunt. The Scottish Government consultation on obesity is open until the end of January – we all need to be thinking how we can support our community – both adults and children to stand up to obesity. Let the Scottish Government hear what you think.
The first issue of 2018, with contributions from Alcohol Focus Scotland, SCPHRP, Nourish Scotland, Obesity Action Scotland and Exercise Works in practice and policy, as well as the latest updates on research in prevention and screening.