Culprits that influence unhealthy diets

An unhealthy diet is composed of foods that are energy-dense yet nutrient poor and are high in saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates or sodium. A diet low in fruits and vegetables or fiber is also characteristic of an unhealthy diet.

An unhealthy diet leads to poor nutrition and is one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity.

Why is it then that the eating habits of many Filipinos have changed, more often veering to unhealthy diet?

Health experts say that these changes in the dietary patterns of Filipinos may be attributed to (a) increasing urbanization with association to increasing Westernized food habits such as high fat diets, processed foods and consumption of refined carbohydrates; (b) globalization which increased trade liberalization, making available a wide variety of processed and fast foods; (c) increased frequency of eating away from home; (d) use of computers and computer games; and (e) influence of mass media.

Aggressive marketing could also be a culprit. Marketing of unhealthy foods near schools is rampant based on a study conducted by UP Manila. The study showed that 85% of foods with outdoor advertisement fell into the unhealthy foods classification and most marketed food and beverages were softdrinks, energy drinks, alcoholic everages, and other sugar-sweetened drinks. Greater commercial exposure has also been found to be associated with positive attitudes towards unhealthy foods. (Source: Talking Points, NNC Facebook)