THE secret to good health lies in moderate food intake and exercise, according to Dr. Rodolfo F. Florentino, vice president of the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity Inc. (PASOO).
Florentino stressed the importance of achieving energy balance amid a potential obesity crisis in the Philippines.
“According to the series of National Nutrition Surveys of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the prevalence of overweight and obesity has been increasing in the last two decades, particularly among adults, especially women. Even among the very young children, overweight and obesity have been increasing over the years,” he said.
In the 2013 survey conducted by FNRI, 31.1 percent of Filipino adults were either overweight or obese–up from 16.6 percent in 1993. The results also showed a five-fold increase of cases among 0-5 year old children, from 1 percent to 5 percent.
“The cause of obesity is multifactorial. While genetic make-up may predispose one to obesity, lifestyle and environmental factors play a greater role,” Florentino noted.
Among these factors are bad dietary habits acquired through the years and low level of physical activity, both of which can put individuals at risk.
Florentino said the basic cause of obesity is an imbalance between the amount of energy ingested from food and drinks and energy
expended through physical activity.
The trick is portion control: knowing the serving sizes, calorie count, fat and nutrient content of different foods–the middle ground between over-indulging and not eating enough.
Obesity is not the end problem but one of the most known common risk factors to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The 2003 result of the FNRI survey, in fact, showed that 90 percent of Filipinos (adults and children) have one or more of the common risk factors for non- communicable diseases: smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol and physical inactivity.
“What is difficult is to achieve a balanced diet, when too much food is taken frequently or in excessive amounts. One will have to be conscious about this difficulty and the need to balance these with sufficient physical activity. The rule then is moderation in everything eaten,” Florentino said.
The PASOO and Coca-Cola Philippines hosted the groups’s 20th Annual Convention with the theme “Obesity 2014: Problems, Prospects, Progress” held on Saturday at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel.
The speakers included Dr. Mark Stoutenberg of the University of Miami who talked about “Obesity, Exercise and Cardiovascular Risk.”