Obesity: A Serious Problem Overlooked by Filipinos

A huge percent of the American population is obese. Recent statistics on obesity state that around 58 million Americans are overweight; 40 million are obese; and 3 million are morbidly obese. There is also an increase in people suffering from obesity related diseases, which includes type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, breast and colon cancer, gall bladder problems, and high blood pressure.
The statistics on childhood obesity is quite alarming as well. According to studies, more and more children are becoming overweight or obese worldwide. An estimate of over 42 million children under the age of 5 is overweight. Surprisingly, about 35 million of these children are living in developing countries such as the Philippines.

Obesity in the Philippines

Actually, this was a shocking discovery. In the past, undernourishment and malnutrition is a common case in developing countries. But according to the data gathered from the NUTRISTAT Protocol at St. Luke’s Medical Center (1999-2000), 34% of the total admitted patients are malnourished and about ¼ of them are obese. There was more overweight (2/3) than malnourished Filipino adult.

These results present credible evidence on how obesity is certainly a serious problem even for our country. As Filipinos further adopt the Western lifestyle and diet, as evident with the abundance of McDonald’s branches in our country, a part of our population inevitably becomes subject to the consequence of becoming overweight or obese. And more and more Filipinos are becoming subjected to this especially children.

Sedentary lifestyle and junk food

Sedentary lifestyle and excessive consumption of junk food is the number one cause of obesity worldwide. As technology progresses and continues to make our lives easier in all aspects, the need for manual power is slowly being eliminated.

Instead of climbing the stairs, most of us use the elevator for quicker and less hassle transportation. Today, we prefer to ride the jeepney, bus or cab more rather than walking or riding a bike. The Internet can provide a variety of information almost instantly; thus, we don’t have to research in different libraries for paper works. Everything is computerized. Automation is slowly taking over tasks we usually do by hand. As our dependence on machineries continues to increase, it lessens the need for physical force.

Playing video games is certainly more fun and thrilling than sports. The latest consoles are so hardcore; it has taken the gaming experience to the next level. The impeccable graphics and digital sound effects are so realistic; anybody would feel so engaged in these video games. This is the reason why obesity is more rampant in kids today than in adults. These youngsters turn to the computer for games instead of getting dirty and sweaty with a basketball.

Without physical activities, our body would not be able to burn the calories we ingest from the food we eat. If not used, the body automatically stores these calories into fat. So if you consume burgers and fries 3x a day, which contains tons of fat, oils, salts, and preservatives, expect to gain weight and fast.

Healthy diet plans and exercise

The only way to cure as well as prevent oneself from becoming overweight or obese is to live a healthy lifestyle. We all need to eat healthier and engage in physical activities to prevent ourselves from gaining unwanted fat and suffer from obesity-related diseases. Stay away from fast food and eat more fruits and vegetables. One of the serious obesity-related illnesses is colon cancer so make sure you eat more fiber and drink more water.

Do not be fooled by fad diet programs. Crash diets are unhealthy and risky. Usually, fad diets allow you to eat one type of food in a very limited amount daily. Some diets restricts the person from eating any other type of food aside from soup or crackers. Although they are truly effective in helping you lose weight fast, you will also gain back the pounds once you’ve stopped the program.
There are plenty articles about healthy diet plans that also feature healthy recipes online. But always remember that diet is always paired with exercise. You don’t have to do crazy routines and rigorous exercises. You can start with 30 minutes to an hour of jogging daily.

If you are very busy, 30 minutes on the threadmill daily would be fine. Instead of using the elevator, use the stairs when going to the office. You can also try parking your car in the farthest side of the lot. During lunch break, do not eat in the nearest cafeteria. Choose a restaurant that offers healthy meals and far enough for you to squeeze in a 5-15 minute walk.

As soon as you start living a healthier lifestyle, you will notice the change occuring from the inside out. You will feel more relaxed, handle stress better, and have a more postive outlook in life.

Maria Espie

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