Obesity is a growing epidemic in the Philippines. According to a 2013 study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, three out of 10 Filipino adults 20 years old and above are either overweight or obese.
“Obesity means a person has too much body fat as determined by his body mass index (BMI). People with a BMI of 30 or more are classified as obese. Aside from limiting physical functioning, obesity also increases the risk of many diseases, including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” explains Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.
While genetics and medical problems can contribute to the development of obesity, its common causes are lifestyle-related, including:
Steady diet of processed foods and excessive sweets. Ready-to-eat frozen meals and potato chips are high in empty calories, which can lead to weight gain and deficiency of several essential nutrients. Overconsumption of sugary foods, like desserts and chocolates, can also increase body fats and cholesterol levels.
Working in a stressful environment. Some people overeat when stressed or upset. Aside from eating more than normal, “comfort foods” are usually high in sugar and fat. Stress also causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone responsible in managing fat storage and energy use and is known to increase cravings for sugary and fatty foods.
Sedentary lifestyle. Technological advancements have caused many adults to work in desk-based jobs that involve too much sitting and doing less physical activities. The leisure provided by televisions, computers and smartphones have also caused many individuals to do less outdoor activities and sleep less, which can lead to weight gain.
Prevention and treatment
Living a healthy and active lifestyle is the best way to prevent or overcome obesity. People who feel like they are becoming overweight or obese can start taking “little steps” to lose the extra pounds and improve their overall health, such as:
Going outdoors and exercising regularly. Outdoor activities, even a relaxed stroll to the park, can help burn calories. Meanwhile, daily jogs and exercise sessions can accelerate the weight loss and tone the muscles faster. Being more physically active and involved in outdoor recreations can also help people feel less stressed.
Following a healthy diet regimen. Regular consumption of fruits, vegetables and foods that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sugar can keep the body nourished and feeling full longer, which helps control unwanted food cravings. Aside from keeping the body in good physical shape, healthy foods also keep diseases at bay.
Managing stress and work-life balance. Stress may be unavoidable, but there are a lot of effective stress management strategies that do not ruin a healthy eating plan, like working out, social engagement and having a positive outlook in life. Yoga and meditation can also reduce stress by bringing the attention away from life’s problems and keeping the mind and body relaxed.
“There are a lot of healthy ways to lose weight and overcome obesity. If you feel like you need a professional intervention, don’t hesitate to consult with nutrition and fitness experts who can help you set achievable weight loss goals,” says Dr. Montoya.
The MediCard Lifestyle Center offers effective solutions for obesity and weight management problems, including nutrition management and counselling, yoga and fitness classes and body slimming and contouring services. For more information, visit http://mlc.medicardphils.com.