The obesity epidemic has grown at an alarming rate among adults and children, both at European level and globally.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2012), recent epidemiology statistics indicate that approximately 1.5 billion adults 20 years and older are overweight, and of these individuals, approximately 500 million are obese. Based on latest available data, more than half (52%) of the adult population in the European Union are overweight or obese (OECD, WHO, Eurostat, 2012). On average across EU member states, 17% of the adult population is obese.
All these numbers either have nearly tripled since 1980 or have doubled since 1990. Instructing and supervising exercise to overweight (BMI ≥ 25) and obese (BMI ≥ 30) individuals requires the development of specific standards which focus exclusively on this type of special populations.
The unhealthy body weight can be associated with rapid increases in type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Especially when it is combined chronically with a physical inactivity, which is the most dangerous cause of death according to the latest research (Blair SN, 2009), the necessity of structured exercise to these people is huge. There is evidence from population-based studies with long-term follow-up confirms that age-related weight gain is attenuated in physically active adults compared with sedentary adults (Saris et al. 2003). A systematic healthy diet and customised physical exercise with supervision consist the mainstays of treatment obesity and weight management generally.
That is why there is a need of inspired and highly motivated professionals in the European fitness industry who are trained in this specific group of people and they have as first priority the weight control, health promotion, quality of life and well being. Exercise and weight loss consists one of the top worldwide fitness trends nowadays (ACSM, 2013).
Under these established standards at the EQF Level 5, the Weight Management Specialist will have the unique opportunity to truly change a person’s life helping someone reach a healthy weight based on comprehensive and specific education and training.
- Alexis Batrakoulis, GR.A.F.T.S., Greece
- John van Heel, EFAA, Netherlands
- Pauline Jacobs, EFAA, Netherlands
- Charlotte Dean, Careers in Fitness, UK
- Nuno Pimento, ESDRM, Portugal