Sir George attended a reception held by TOAST - The Obesity Awareness & Solutions Trust.
"TOAST was formed in July 1999 to raise awareness of the complexities of obesity, to advocate research and education, and to encourage dialogiue between professionals and those who suffer from obesity. (See below for more details). They are trying to raise funds for a National Residential Centre for the treatment and management of obesity, and to encourage healthy living. As obesity is linked to killer diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, the Centre could reduce the risk of death by promoting a healthy living propgramme, tailored to the age and health requirments of the particular sufferer."
TOAST is a non-profit making organisation and is the first in this country to set up action groups, to inform, educate and listen, to research and to work with interested parties to raise the profile of a set of problems called obesity; It is a responsible organisation, which seeks to promote good contacts in indust~ academia and patient groups and provide an effective means of dialogue with policy makers and regulators.
Over half the population is overweight or obese.
In 1980 in the UK about 3 million people were obese. Today that number has more than doubled; predictions for the year 2005 are that 20% men and 25% women will be obese.
That translates to 1000 new people everyday becoming obese in this country.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Body weight is the result of a balance between energy intake (how much we eat and drink) and energy expenditure (how much energy we spend in keeping us warm, keeping the body functioning and moving the body around). When energy intake and expenditure are in balance, weight remains stable. When energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, either by a greater intake or a lesser expenditure, the extra calories are stored in the form of fat and weight is gained.
It is important to recognise that the obese are not one homogenous group; there are many and varied causes. As with smoking and alcohol abuse, obesity is a problem associated with lifestyle. Factors that contribute to overweight and obesity include: levels of food intake, levels of activity, age and gender, genes, environmental factors, psychological factors and factors related to disease and their treatments.
Obesity is not just a personal problem, or just a personal responsibility. Once thought of as an abnormal response to a normal environment, obesity is a normal response to an abnormal environment.
Aims and Objectives of TOAST
„h To support research and analysis of the problems and treatments of obesity
„h To focus on obesity prevention and management strategies
„h To provide education of primary health care teams
„h To set up action groups to open up a dialogue between lay and professionals
„h To lobby appropriate agencies
„h To encourage the increase of healthy lifestyles
„h To encourage more physical activity
„h To increase the rights of the obese
„h To bring to the public notice the social stigma and exclusion that is directed to the obese
„h To work with the food industry towards better availability of healthy foods
„h To raise awareness of the complexities of the problem
Solutions fall into two broad categories; prevention, and treatment for the already obese.
Prevention. It is important to target information strategies that encourage healthy lifestyles, healthy eating and to spread knowledge and information about the causes and consequences of obesity.
Treatment for the already obese. Whist prevention will stem the growing tide of obesity; there are many people for whom this strategy is already too late. The treatment and prevention of obesity has not halted the current epidemic. Most obese have lost weight at some time, however, maintaining that lost weight has not happened. Strategies focussing on maintenance as well as weight loss are needed to find innovative approaches to help the millions of people who are currently obese.
All solution strategies must recognise the diversity of the problem.
HELP PEOPLE TURN KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION
TOAST: not only what can it do for me, but what can we do for us.
TOAST is its members.
Whether you have an interest in obesity because you live as an obese person, or whether you have an interest because you work with obesity,
TOAST NEEDS YOU.
It's about time there was someone to turn to if you have a problem.
It's about time there was a united voice to speak up about obesity issues.
It's about time we all work together to see how we can do this better.
What will you gain from becoming a member?
„h Quarterly TOASTbites - our in house magazine
„h Articles by experts in the field
„h Correspondence page
„h Keep up to date with policies
„h The chance to put forward your views
„h Being part of the Action Group
„h Diary of Events
„h Reduced entry to TOAST events
„h Access to Helpline
„h Information on research, equipment etc.
TOAST was formed to be a focus for the prevention and management of obesity in the UK.