According to recent research, as of 2016 the biggest threat the overall health of women in the UK (including current and future generations) is obesity. More than 50% of women over the age of 30 are currently overweight, and the chances only increase with age until close to retirement age. The scale of the problem is very large, but in most cases obesity is still treated as a secondary concern. Perhaps the overall impact on health is still not recognised, despite much high profile research being conducted and published in the field.
Most of the most high profile information available details the basic risks of becoming overweight. For example, type 2 diabetes is an increasingly common condition that can develop over time, especially in people who are genetically predisposed to it. Its causes are directly linked with intake of sugar and fat, so people are generally aware of this particular risk, but perhaps it is considered something that only affects the most overweight people. Even the risk of cancer being increased by obesity, particularly certain types, is fairly well known but not commonly seen as a catalyst for change.
An example that may be less commonly known or discussed is the risk to pregnant women in particular from being overweight or obese. The children of obese mothers have a lower chance of surviving in the womb until full term, with premature births or miscarriages being more likely. Furthermore, the conditions inside the womb are different which can be linked to predisposition to particular diseases later in the child’s life, including the aforementioned type 2 diabetes. Recent research has shown that mothers who gain too much weight actually alter the genetic makeup of their babies, putting them at a permanently higher risk of developing weight-related health issues.
Overall it seems that the problem is made worse rather than improving. One major stumbling block is education, because many people seem unwilling to educate themselves, or even take positive action based on what they have been told, since it can be more convenient in the short term to live in ignorance. This is the most likely psychological explanation for so many people struggling to break their unhealthy relationships with food, and fostering destructive eating habits. It has been suggested that therapy should be given a higher priority as a course of treatment for obesity.