National Obesity Awareness Week begins today, aiming to improve people’s understanding of obesity and the ways it can be tackled.

It’s predicted that by 2050 as much as 50 per cent of the UK population could be obese, at a cost of £50 billion a year. Already, one in five children in London are obese.

The risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and increases as a person becomes more obese. Dangers include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, reproductive problems, gallstones, increased likelihood of getting cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome and abnormal blood fats.

Many of these conditions cause long-term suffering for individuals and families. In addition, the costs for the healthcare system can be extremely high.

The good news is that obesity is largely preventable. The key to success is to achieve an energy balance between calories consumed and calories used.

Many do not have time to drastically change the way they live in order to keep fit, but small changes to everyday lifestyles can be enough to get people on the right path.

You cannot expect to lose the weight in a week, it takes time getting there, but with a steady routine and strong will you can fight back the fat and live a healthy life.

Here are six steps to get you on the right track:

First you must set your mind to the task. Without the will to get healthy you never will. You only have to look at the facts listed above to see what that bad diet is doing to you and your kids.

Have an eating structure in place. Eat a good breakfast, as this will start you on the right track for the day. Not only does it boost your energy but also regulates your metabolism for the whole day. Have a light lunch, such as a chicken salad to keep the energy levels up while also keeping it healthy. Finish with dinner, just enough to finish you off for the day. Remember, it is the snacks in-between that will destroy all your hard work.

Eat slow. Eating fast does not allow your body to effectively tell the brain that it is full. Savour the taste and enjoy the meal. You will find that you become full after eating less. Food is not there to be abused but to be enjoyed - you spent money and time making it so enjoy it while you can.

Eat healthy and with variety. Carbs can be good too but in moderation as these are what the brain uses to function. Keep it varied and include fruits, vegetables and carbs, just remember to be smart with the carbs you eat, such as whole wheat instead of white.

Keeping active is key to a healthy body. There is no way around it, successful and sustained weight loss needs a commitment to physical activity. Every little helps so take the stairs instead of the lift. If you have time, walk to the shops instead of driving. Have a dance while doing the vacuuming, get that heart pumping and those legs moving. The best course of action is try to set yourself an hour a day for exercise - not only will you look better but you will feel better too, you deserve it!

Drink plenty of water. Our bodies function best when kept refreshed, improving brain functionality and feeling good. All metabolic processes utilize water - dehydration is the main cause of headaches and fatigue during the day so make sure you keep hydrated to help you feel your best.

Visit the National Obesity Awareness Week website for more information