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Being overweight or obese represents a serious health risk, and in many countries has replaced smoking as the most common preventable cause of death. Excessive bodyweight contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart and circulatory diseases and encourages the growth of certain types of tumours, contributing to a shorter life expectancy. Investigations have shown that even people who are a little overweight will lose years off their life, compared to people of normal weight. The impact increases with the growth of excess weight and, for seriously obese people, can even lead to a life expectancy that is cut ten years shorter. However, it is not just a person’s lifespan that is shortened, the number of years enjoyed in good health also suffers. Researchers at the University of Helsinki have tried to quantify this loss. To do this, they investigated data from more than 120,000 people and calculated the number of healthy years of life remaining for a 40-year-old person before they developed a chronic illness. They came to the conclusion that a 40-year-old person of normal weight could expect an average of 29.4 years of good health, irrespective of gender. By contrast, peopl
The human body relies on regular energy intake. Without it, no cell would be able to carry out its function for long. Compounds containing energy, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, are provided via food and then digested by the body. Therefore, the energy released allows the body to work and maintains basic functions like circulation, breathing, digestion and a constant body temperature. The energy required during physical and mental rest is also known as resting metabolism. This, however, leaves
Along with a variety of nutritional programmes and diets, exercise is primarily regarded as the wonder-weapon against excess weight. Energy is not only used up during exercise itself, but also afterwards through the “after-burner" effect. Additionally, regular physical activity promotes muscle growth and thus increases the basal metabolic rate, which facilitates further weight loss or the maintenance of weight. Although these effects undoubtedly exist, their influence on the impact of weight is significantly overestima
According to estimations of the WHO (World Health Organisation) around 400 million children and adolescents were affected by being overweight or obese in 2016. In many countries, it is also the case that the growth in people affected is faster among
Undoubtedly, cholesterol has a poor reputation and has become the topic of a decades-old debate. It is suspected that cholesterol increases the likelihood of arteriosclerosis and facilitates heart attacks and strokes. Because of this, it has long be