What may look like a cosmetic or appearance issue, maybe something a lot more complex.
Obesity is a growing global issue. According to recent studies, around 39% of people across the world – and the Philippines is no exception to this.
This Obesity Awareness Month, let our professional nutritionists give you the facts and debunk the myths of obesity in the Philippines that have progressed over the years.
Fact #1: The Philippines has a growing obesity rate
Unfortunately, the country has contributed to the world’s rising cases of the disease. The World Obesity Federation has given the Philippines an obesity risk score of 6/10 or moderate risk. This is because there has been a “very rapid growth” in adult obesity cases between 1995 and 2015.
In Metro Manila alone, overweight and obesity are the top nutrition concerns in eight cities. 9.6% of adults in the region are obese, while 28.8% are overweight.
To help fight obesity, the nutritionists at Maayo Well are ready to provide the best wellness practices for anyone struggling with chronic disease.
Fact #2: Obesity healthcare can be expensive
A factor that may have contributed to the rise of obesity in the Philippines is the costly medical interventions to help fight off the condition.
According to WOF, healthcare costs in the country reached $555.8 million in 2016, including the costs of severe complications brought by obesity like cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases.
Access to quality healthcare to help manage chronic conditions like obesity can be quite a challenge. A study has shown that more than 60 countries have inadequate services to address obesity.
Fact #3: Obesity is often misunderstood
In the Philippines, where society incredibly values physical appearance, obesity is often thought of as “being overweight” and having the lack of self-discipline to “eat less and move more.”
Many in the country don’t think that obesity is a chronic disease that impairs one’s normal bodily functions. A recent health study showed that 40% who experience obesity suffer from judgment and humiliation, thus hindering themselves from seeking the medical care they need.
Obesity is also often mistaken as overweight, too. But that’s not entirely the case. Both obesity and overweight mean one has excess body fat, but the diagnosis will depend on the Body Mass Index (BMI). If one’s BMI is between 25.0 to 29.9, they are overweight; but if it reaches 30.0 and above, a person is considered obese.
Myth: The love of carbs contribute to obesity
In a recent study released by UNICEF, the Philippines see an increasing problem with being overweight and obese because of “poor diets, inadequate nutrition, and failing food systems”, especially for children.
Overweight and obese children are likely to enter adulthood with these conditions and become more prone no non-communicable diseases.
Filipinos are known to be big fans of carbohydrates like rice, bread, pancit, kakanin like bibingka and biko, and potato-based snacks like french fries, mashed potatoes, and chips. Because of this, most tend to eat more carbs than what’s recommended. In managing obesity, a balanced diet between protein, complex carbs, and leafy vegetables and fruit is needed.
Myth: Obesity can be genetic… but not the sole cause
While there is proof that a person’s genes contribute to weight gain and obesity, it cannot be solely blamed for acquiring this chronic disease.
If one has a family history of obesity and has unhealthy habits, his or her lifestyle may greatly contribute to acquiring obesity.
An unbalanced diet comes as a great contribution as well. Over the past few decades, processed foods have become widely available. These, however, provide low nutrition value and are heaping with calories. While these food items fill one’s stomach, the body gains more fat rather than the needed nutrition.
Fact #4: Fighting obesity begins with you
Overcoming obesity requires a lot from the patient – both physically and mentally. It takes discipline, patience, and determination to overcome obesity and fight the misconceptions associated with the disease.
Engage in a Healthy Diet
Preventing any chronic condition begins with a balanced diet. It’s important to introduce a healthy diet and as much as possible, reduce consumption of unhealthy food items to children even at such a young age to help incorporate it as they grow older.
This goes for the teens and adults as well, a balanced diet usually includes:
- 2 to 3 cups of vegetables
- 1 ½ cups of fruits
- 5 to 8 ounces of grains
- 5 to 6 ½ ounces of protein foods
Keep your body physically fit and help burn those excess calories and fats from your body with a good amount of exercise. John Hopkins recommends having an average of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity weekly to help prevent or manage obesity.
Consult a Professional or Doctor
Obesity is a condition you cannot manage blindly. In fighting off this condition, you would need a balanced diet that’s properly proportionate to your weight and BMI. You would also need a physical exercise program depending on your ability.
For those who are obese, brisk walking is already considered intense, so you should never force someone into those general workouts as it may cause more harm than good.
In order to find the diet and exercise that matches your condition and needs, it’s important to consult a nutritionist and a dietician so they could come up with the right formula based on your family history, medical history, and current physical condition.
Take care of your health and fight obesity in the Philippines. If you’re experiencing issues with your physical condition, book an appointment immediately with our doctors at Maayo Well.