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Average UK male's weight up nearly 17lb in fourteen years ...

If the average British man from the mid-1980s could have a chat with his counterpart from the turn of the millennium, chances are the conversation would sooner or later turn to their respective waistlines.

That’s because millennium man is carrying a fair bit more timber than his be-mulleted predecessor - and there is every reason to believe that this weight-gain trend is continuing as the 21st century enters its second decade.

An Oxford University study has determined that Mr Average UK’s weight ballooned by 7.7kg, or 1 stone, 3lbs. in the 14 years from 1986 to 2000 the BBC reports. The reasons are, by and large, the obvious ones: cheaper, more readily available food and a more sedentary lifestyle imposed on us in part by the decline in the number of “active” jobs and the rise of desk-bound ones.

Scientists have calculated that the difference in the amount of food consumed by the average British man in 1986 and 2000 would account for 5.4kg (11.9lb) of weight increase so the remainder is down to the less active lifestyles we lead.

Dr Peter Scarborough, senior researcher in public health at Oxford University, told the BBC: "The problem is really how people are getting around. They are driving more, cycling less and more likely to be employed in a sedentary job. Physical activity is slowly being removed from day-to-day life."

A spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation said: "Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and stroke and contributes to premature death and poor quality of life."

The Foundation said the research was indicative of "a ticking time bomb for male health" and said that it highlights the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet.
 

7 comments

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OldRidgeback [2658 posts] 5 years ago
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But what is the average man's weight? I weigh more than I did in 1986. But I'm in good shape.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 5 years ago
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I truly get fed up when a single statistic is taken out of context from a study and quoted to make a point

Please advise, does the study mention *at all* then increase in the height of the average man over the same period? (Humans are on average taller in every decade over at least the last century.)

Without doing so the mention of increase in weight is at best misleading and at worst smacks of cherry-picking of facts.

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Milky88 [10 posts] 5 years ago
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Unfortunately I can't access the full text from this particular journal, but it is standard practice in studies of this type to control for height in the analyses so this should not be a problem.

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simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:

Without doing so [referring to an increase in average height] the mention of increase in weight is at best misleading and at worst smacks of cherry-picking of facts.

But there's no denying that there is an increasing problem with obesity in the developed world. I think you'll find that people are getting fatter quicker than they're getting taller. Today we're breeding a generation of children who, without a change in diet and regular exercise, will die before their parents. I think we should all be very concerned about this.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 5 years ago
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Milky88 wrote:

Unfortunately I can't access the full text from this particular journal, but it is standard practice in studies of this type to control for height in the analyses so this should not be a problem.

Agreed, but quoting one figure - increase in weight over time - as a raw number in press releases and reportage is just spin.

simonmb wrote:

But there's no denying that there is an increasing problem with obesity in the developed world. I think you'll find that people are getting fatter quicker than they're getting taller. Today we're breeding a generation of children who, without a change in diet and regular exercise, will die before their parents. I think we should all be very concerned about this.

Sorry - you're right of course and I wouldn't want to take away from that central theme.

The whole aspect of increasing obesity is definitely a matter of concern, but careless quoting of single statistics and exaggerated alarmism rather than careful, well balanced reporting just leads to a sense of ennui in the reader.

It's unfortunate, but today's person-on-the-street generally doesn't have the attention span even to read the whole of a story in a newspaper, much less to independantly research any counter-balancing trends or information and then look into root causes and implications for their own life - all of which means care in choosing headlines is utterly important.

All I was trying to say was that I generally value the reporting in road.cc (keep it up guys!) and I don't want to see it slip towards the Sun/Daily Mail end of the scale.

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G-bitch [323 posts] 5 years ago
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I thought the huge decline in cycling was pretty much a done deal by the mid 80's with cycling trips bottoming out as a percentage of trips in the late 80's/early 90's.

Anyway, this is a serious problem, and one that i've contributed to. At 31, for the first time in my adult life, I'm no longer overweight. Over-eating problem.

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step-hent [723 posts] 5 years ago
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Be interested to know if the study also takes into account the ageing population (my thinking being that people tend to put on weight as they get older, so with an ageing population the mean weight would likely be higher, unless adjusted for age).

It's obvious that obesity is a problem though. Hopefully the recent increase in the number of people cycling will mean that more people fit a bit of exercise into the daily routine - most recognise it can be difficult to fit in a gym session or sporting activity around work and home commitments, but if it replaces your commuting time it pays for itself (in time terms)!