NUTRITION NEWS: National Nutrition Council sees increasing over-nutrition among adults

By Miriam P. Aquino, PIA 1, La Union

SAN FERNANDO CITY – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) here has observed a prevalence of over-nutrition, another health issue.
NNC regional coordinatior Ma. Eileen C. Blanco said overweight and obesity prevalence which are both health risks have been steadily increasing in the last two decades.

Among adults, the prevalence has almost doubled from 16.6 percent in 1993, 24.0 in 2003 to 31.1 percent in 2013, Blanco added.

She said that physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, child undernutrition and poor breastfeeding practices are the culprits in the increasing obesity prevalence in the country.

Blanco also cited data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute on the changing dietary pattern which shows that Filipinos have been eating high protein diet like meat, fish and eggs; high consumption of sugars and syrups, fats and oils; low consumption of vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates.

She also noted that increasing urbanization have led to diets that are high in fat, simple sugars, processed foods, refined carbohydrates while globalization has resulted in increased trade liberalization making available wide variety of processed and fast food establishments and increased frequency of eating away from home.

Blanco said at least 15 minutes to one-hour of exercise daily is advised.

Among preschool children, the prevalence has been below 2 percent from 1989 to 1998 but has gradually increased to 4.9 percent in 2013.

For children 5.08 to 10 years old, the prevalence is higher at 5.8 percent in 2003 but has gone down to 5 percent in 2013.

Among the 10.08-19 years age group, the prevalence has increased from 4.9 percent in 2003 to 8.3 percent in 2013.

The survey further revealed that prevalence of overweight and obesity increases as wealth increases, Blanco said.

She also noted a direct relationship between wealth index and number of overweight and obese where richer families tend to have higher prevalence of overweight and obesity in both urban and rural areas.

“Even among the poorest population, overweight and obesity are also prevalent,” Blanco added.

Here are some tips which the FNRI and NNC recommend to prevent cases of obesity/overweight among infants/children, adolescents, and adults.

Eat a variety of foods everyday – more of vegetables and fruits, legumes and other fiber-rich food; prepare food at home more often; exclusively breastfeed newborns up to six (6) months, then give appropriate complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding; monitor and manage weight of family members; have regular exercise with the family. Encourage children to play games and limit exposure of children to television, computers, other electronic gadgets to no more than 2 hours a day.#