By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
We live in an obesogenic world. An environment that favors us to gain weight and store unwanted fats, especially in the abdominal area. Globally, obesity increases by one percent annually.
In the Philippines, the Food and National Research Institute (FNRI) showed recent data that obesity and overweight in the country are up to 24 percent, which has tripled from the last couple of surveys conducted. This has impacted the population’s morbidity and mortality.
We may get used to family members and friends being a bit on the heavy side or you may be contented with the way you look, which is a good thing, but obesity is no joke. It is, after all, a risk factor for one too many diseases that will not only affect the individual but the rest of the family, their finances as well as one’s productivity at work.
More importantly, intra abdominal or visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat found in other parts of the body. An individual may have a normal BMI yet have high visceral fat which is highly associated with diabetes mellitus. Think “diabesity” because you may be thin on the outside but fat on the inside.
During the 23rd Annual Convention of the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Aug. 31, immediate past president of the organization, Dr. Roberto Mirasol emphasized on obesity’s impact on increasing risk for the following diseases:
The Nurses’ Health Study showed an age related relative risk of 40 in women with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33 Kg/m2.
The Swedish Obesity Study showed 44 to 51 percent of obese women with baseline hypertension.
Obesity is associated with elevated cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), triglycerides, apolipoprotein B, and a reduction in HDL or good cholesterol. All of these are related to the development of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.
In a study of 234,863 Korean men aged 40 to 64 years, an adjusted hazard of 11 percent for ischemic stroke was found for every one point increase in BMI.
Other medical conditions include obstructive sleep apnea (a disorder that causes one to stop breathing for a few seconds to a few minutes while sleeping), hepatobiliary diseases that include gallstone formation, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), osteoarthritis commonly affecting and causing pain in the knees and ankles, cancer, and infertility.
Battling obesity needs proper guidance from an expert health professional. Do not merely take bits and pieces of information from the Internet and create your own weight loss program. When it comes to your health, don’t take chances. Let a professional take care of you. Also, beware of quack nutritionists out there. You only have one life to live. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Consulting clinical and sports nutritionist and PASOO board member, Sanirose S. Orbeta, MS, RD, FADA, shares her practical dietary guidelines to managing obesity:
1. Know your personal Daily Caloric Requirements.
2. Eat the correct Nutrient Ratio: 55 percent complex carbohydrates, 20 percent protein, and 25 percent fats.
3. Enjoy more fruits and vegetables daily.
4. Minimize sugar and fatty desserts.
5. Consume less salt and salty foods.
6. Try smaller meals and snacks.
7. Drink more water daily and minimize sugar sweetened beverages.
8. Limit alcoholic beverages.
9. Minimize your caffeine to 150 to 250 mg. (That’s about one to two cups of brewed coffee!)
10. Be physically active: three to five times a week or more.
11. It is best to consult a registered nutritionist dietitian to know your personal daily caloric requirements and how to plan your meals that’s suited to your lifestyle, preference, and even budget.
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