Obesity is now considered as one of the Philippines’ serious health problems.
The Philippine Statistics Authority defines being obese as “a condition where a person’s weight is much greater than that of a normal person of the same height (for adults), with a body mass index or BMI of greater than or equal to 30.0 kg/m2.”
In the past, it was considered a problem of affluent countries only. But now, even low-income and middle income countries face this problem. They are also now confronted with the burden of both undernutrition and overnutrition.
Increasing incidence in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the population’s growing adoption of the Western lifestyle and diet is behind the increasing incidence of obesity. Studies also indicate that having higher educational attainment, higher socioeconomic status, and living in urban areas increase one’s chances of being overweight or obese.
In the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey initiated by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the results indicate a gradually increasing trend in the prevalence of overweight/ obesity among adults.
Health issues associated with obesity
Why the big concern about obesity? Being overweight or obese are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases.
Obesity could lead to a lot of serious health conditions that are potentially life-threatening. These include type 2 diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease., reproductive health disorders, and certain cancers.
Aside from the serious health conditions, it can also affect one’s quality of life and relationships with other people. These can then lead to psychological issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.
Every year, the first week of September is designated as Obesity Prevention Awareness Week to raise awareness on the risks of obesity.
In 1984 the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) was organized to help address the various aspects in the prevention and treatment of obesity. The organization is committed to raising awareness of the problem of obesity among Filipinos.
Below is an infographic by the PASOO on its Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations for Obesity Prevention:
If you have concerns with your own weight or the health of a family member or friend, follow the guidelines set by the PASOO.