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The Call for Better Health: Rising Obesity Rates In the Philippines

Many aspects of our lives have changed since the new normal rolled in. For instance, classes and work are now mostly held remotely at home. Our outdoor access has also been limited, together with the continuous observance of wearing face masks, face shields and maintaining social distancing as part of the health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

While these conditions help protect us against acquiring the virus, they also open us at risk of developing other health conditions such as overweight and obesity.

In recent years, studies and surveys have shown an increase in the obesity rate in the country. A survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Institute Research in 2019 showed that the overweight and obesity rates in the Philippines have tripled in the last fifteen years.

Risk factors

Obesity is a chronic disease that involves an excessive amount and unhealthy distribution of body fat in the body. Excess body fat affects and slows down the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients such as vitamin D, biotin, chromium, and thiamine. It also strains your organs and bones and affects your hormones and metabolism.

More than a chronic disease, obesity is also an alarming medical problem that easily puts anyone at risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many more.

Causes

Obesity is caused by the sudden increase of fat cells in the body. This could stem from several reasons, such as genetic, hormonal, metabolic, and behavioral factors, which vary differently.

In the case of the Philippines, the main causes of obesity are poor diet, inadequate nutrition, failing food systems, and lack of physical activities.

With the new normal that we are in, our daily physical activities have decreased due to the limitation on mobility.

Apart from this, in an attempt to gain normalcy, comfort, and a way to cope with the distressing situations brought by the pandemic, many of us have resorted to snacking and frequently having fast food deliveries. These conditions have opened many of us to higher risks of developing obesity.

Solutions

One of the key solutions in preventing yourself from acquiring or developing health problems associated with obesity is reforming your lifestyle and purging old and unhealthy habits.

With that, we’ve listed two simple but important ways that can help you attain a better and healthy lifestyle to curb your risks of developing obesity and other serious illnesses.

I. Increase in Physical Activity

Incorporating physical activities and keeping an active lifestyle can help reduce your chances of gaining weight and help you maintain and stay at a healthy one. Getting about 150-300 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week is enough to help prevent unnecessary weight gain.

Apart from this, keeping active can also help lower your risk of having high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious medical conditions. It also helps enhance your mental wellness by reducing stress and boosting your mood and energy.

II. Building the Habit of a Healthy Diet

Modifying your diet into a low-calorie and nutrient-dense one is vital to prevent risks of obtaining serious health problems. This includes consuming vegetables and whole grains and cutting back on sweets, alcohol, and food that is high in sodium and saturated fat.

A standard healthy meal consists of a plate with complex carbohydrates like brown rice, lean protein like fish or chicken, and fruits or leafy vegetables. These food and diet patterns also help protect you against non-communicable and chronic diseases such as stroke and heart disease.

With the changes that we need to make in this new normal, looking after our health may have been placed on the back-burner. However, as we adjust to our new ways of living, it’s important that we slowly take action to help improve our lifestyles. Especially that there are many threats against our health at this time, it’s important that we attain a healthy lifestyle as an early precaution measure against any kinds of health problems. — (TGM)

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