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Increasing sedentarism and obesity in Western nations threaten to collapse welfare states


(NaturalNews) Seems a strange way to approach the topic of obesity. But this is based on an article by the UK online newspaper The Telegraph, and there is more of a welfare state concern there than here in the USA. The welfare system carries the load of medical costs for everyone in England.

Each country within the United Kingdom has its own version of a publicly owned and managed healthcare system. Apparently, the sedentary issue is more prominent in England than it is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The Telegraph health writer covered a report by Public Health England (PHE), which said lack of exercise is as dangerous as smoking, directly contributing to one in six deaths.

Currently, it appears that Great Britain's whole public health system is creaking a bit from financial pressures. Some are even forecasting its demise. And the rising health costs attributed to the fat and lazy aren't helping hold things together.

The PHE estimates that two-thirds of Britain's population is too sedentary. So PHE has put out recommendations for minimal exercising that won't be part of daily Big Brother broadcasts but will definitely be part what primary healthcare doctors under the system will monitor and perhaps regulate with their patients.

Simon Stevens, National Health Service chief executive, warned: "The future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health.

"Put bluntly, as the nation's waistline keeps piling on the pounds, we're piling on billions of pounds in future taxes just to pay for preventable illnesses."[1]

The obesity epidemic is going pandemic

In general, the USA has as high an obesity rate as Great Britain, but one wonders how much is attributable to sedentary lifestyles or the amounts of junk food consumed so regularly.

Of course, it's a combination of both, but one carries more weight than the other probably. According to an American Diabetes Association report written up in a January 2004 Clinical Diabetes article, "Obesity in America; It's Getting Worse," obesity has more than doubled in the last four decades.[2]

The tendency is to overeat with less exercise or physical activity. From one-third to almost half of Brits and Americans deal with computer or desk jobs, sitting for at least six hours daily.

Perhaps there are some handy high-calorie low-nutrition snack foods to munch throughout the day. Then there's traveling or commuting to or from work by car. Those who have to walk briskly to catch trains or buses at least undergo some activity.

Then at home there's dinner prepared as easily and quickly as possible from processed packaged and frozen foods. Or maybe a quick fast food drive-thru suffices for taking the evening meal home.

After dinner, some TV, more sitting and maybe more food. The calorie intake exceeds what's needed to maintain current weight, and the excess high-simple-carb processed foods' sugars accumulate as fat.

Added sugars are in almost all processed foods as well as their usual foundations of processed fine grains that also have high glycemic levels. These influence sugar and insulin distributions to levels of shock and awe that lead to obesity and diabetes.

Perhaps the worst sugar contained in most foods and beverages is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Unlike sucrose (sugar), not all of it is converted to glucose for cellular energy. A large portion isn't converted to glucose and is converted to fat by the liver instead of glucose. Liver dysfunction leads to poor digestion and increased fat production.

University of Princeton professor Bart Hoebel specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. His recent study discovered that, "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."[3]

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk

[2] http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org

[3] http://www.princeton.edu

[4] http://science.naturalnews.com

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