An estimated 10 per cent of boys, and 66 per cent of men, are either obese or overweight. The average male now weighs over 78kg (12st, 4lb). Being overweight increases the risk of a number of serious illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease and strokes.

If you are overweight, do all you can to lose excess fat by eating a healthy diet and increasing the amount of exercise you take. Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, DIY and gardening are all ideal activities. If you haven't exercised for some time, start off slowly and gradually increase the level of activity as you become fitter.

Research suggests that men with a waist circumference larger than 102cm (40") are more likely to have shortness of breath, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes than those with slimmer waistlines. Slight waist reductions of just 5cm (2") to 10cm (4") can significantly reduced a man's risk of a heart attack.

Men and exercise facts
- Fewer than half of men aged over 24 take regular, vigorous exercise
- Only 20 per cent of middle-aged men take light to moderate exercise
- 80 per cent of men do not exercise at least three times per week
- 60 per cent of middle-aged men are totally inactive




The views on this page are those of Dr Sarah Brewer with whose permission the information on these health pages has been reproduced. Harvesters accepts no responsibility for any false or inaccurate information contained within these pages.