Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK today launch a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying excess weight around your middle. The ‘Active Fat’ campaign urges people to measure their waistlines and make positive changes to their lifestyles if they are at risk.
Sinister 'Active Fat' character used in animation
The charities have produced aweb animation featuring a sinister fat cell character, which helps to show that instead of lying around harmlessly, our fat cells are actually very active and working around the clock to stimulate disease and conditions.
Harmful hormones and chemicals
To coincide with the campaign launch, the three charities have also released the results of a survey that reveal that 97 per cent of people in Britain are unaware that their 'beer bellies' and 'muffin tops' are generating harmful hormones and chemicals, putting them at risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But worryingly, nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of the 2,085 adults questioned admit to carrying excess weight around their middle, and more than half (57 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men) overestimate the waist measurement at which they become at risk.
Know your risk
“That ‘harmless’ spare tyre around your waist is actually a major health hazard,” said Diabetes UK Care Advisor Libby Dowling.
"While you might be relaxing at home, your fat cells are working overtime to pump out excess hormones and other chemicals that can cause harm.
"Knowing your risk is an important first step towards shedding the extra fat anchoring our nation to future health issues."
Make healthier food choices
The charities are also calling for the European Parliament to support people to make healthier food choices by bringing in a single front-of-pack food labelling system across Europe.
“If you’re used to pounds and ounces, it’s extremely confusing to go into a shop that only deals in grams and kilograms. It’s the same with food labelling systems - we need one system that includes traffic light colours to help busy supermarket shoppers make informed food choices,” said Libby.
Start improving your health today
The charities' survey also found that while more men claimed to be worried about their health as a consequence of carrying excess fat around their middle, women were more likely to be trying to do something about it.
“Little changes that can become daily habits are the best, as they usually require less effort and can act as the building blocks of a much bigger lifestyle picture," said Libby.
"Waist size is likely to increase throughout life, so whatever your age, today is a good day to start improving your health.”
To help people to trim their tummies, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation are sharing their top tips on losing weight through their joint campaign website. People can learn more about active fat and take a lifestyle check atwww.activefat.org.uk.
Celeb support from 'The Apprentice' star Claire
The campaign is also being supported by former ‘Apprentice’ television contestant and businesswoman Claire Young. Ms Young said: “As someone whose family has been affected by heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, I know just how important it is to look after your health.
"My mum and I recently reduced our waistlines by making small, everyday changes to our lifestyles, and I’m encouraging others out there to measure their own waistlines and make changes if their health is at risk.”