National Obesity Awareness Week: Fat and the liver

Posted on: 14th January 2020

The British Liver Trust is proud to support National Obesity Awareness Week.

The week aims to raise vital awareness of how excess weight can increase health risks, what we can do to prevent it, and how we can tackle it if we are currently affected.

Over 6 in 10 people in the UK are now classed as obese and overweight, and it’s estimated that a third have early stage non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

People with NAFLD have too much fat in their liver. If you’re obese, you’re at higher risk of having NAFLD. Other people at risk are those with Type 2 diabetes, those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and people who carry a lot of weight around their middle.

Helpline

The British Liver Trust runs a free, nurse-led helpline for members of the public concerned about their liver health. Pamela Healy OBE, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, says: “Our helpline receives a high volume of calls from members of the public about NAFLD.  It’s a condition that’s often found incidentally, when people have a scan for something else.

“In the next decade, experts predict that NAFLD will become the leading cause of late stage liver disease and transplantation.

“In most cases though, NAFLD can be controlled or reversed before it progresses to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). That’s why it’s really important that we raise awareness of the disease and encourage people to take steps to improve their overall health, before the condition gets more serious.”

“Our Love Your Liver campaign aims to do just that. This includes improving the public’s understanding of the risks associated with eating foods that are often high in fat or sugar, such as takeaways and fizzy drinks. “

What you can do to tackle excess weight

Many people will already be familiar with the advice on how to maintain a healthy weight. You can get a rough idea if you’re overweight by checking your Body Mass Index.

  • If you’re overweight, speak to your doctor about help with losing weight safely – avoid crash diets and rapid weight loss
  • Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is important: aim for 5 portions a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Try eating from a smaller plate and cutting down on fatty and sugary foods
  • Get at least half an hour’s exercise a day leaving you warm and slightly out of breath
  • Finding an exercise that you enjoy will help: try walking, swimming, cycling or dancing
  • Stick to the recommended guidelines for drinking alcohol.

Find out more about your liver health

If you’d like to find out more about whether you could be at risk of liver disease, you could complete the charity’s online screener or visit a Love Your Liver roadshow in a town near you for a free liver scan.

 

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