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14 Nov, 2015

Obesity on the rise among Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines Nov. 9 (NNN-Xinhua) — The Philippines National Nutrition Council (NNC) has expressed alarm over overweight and obesity which is becoming an “emerging problem” in the country, saying that this will result in a future generation of unhealthy Filipinos.

“Unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are now resulting in many Filipino children being overweight and obese,” according to NNC Nutrition Officer Marilou Enteria at the 5th National Conference of the District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators.

Enteria added this could be attributed to the growing presence of fast food and processed food, which are usually high in salt, fats and sugar.

“It”s also because of sedentary lifestyle. Almost all children are into gadgets,” she said.

Enteria has urged parents to make sure that their children do some exercises and eat a balance diet that is comprised of “go, grow and glow food.”

Go foods pertains to rice, bread and noodles; while the grow foods are the meat, fish and beans. The glow foods are fruits and vegetables.

NNC is also pushing for the exclusive breastfeeding of babies during the first six months of life to lower the risk of overweight and obesity.

Based on the 2013 National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition and Research Institute, the number of obese Filipinos rose from 14.5 percent in 1993 to 31.1 percent in 2013.

During the conference, the NNC had underscored among the local nutrition coordinators the need the conquer malnutrition within the first 1,000 days of the child.

Health Assistant Secretary and NNC Executive Director Maria Bernardita Flores said the first 1,000 days of life is the “window of opportunity to improve the nutrition of the next generation of children.”

Flores said that poor nutrition in the first two years of life affects the physical, cognitive and behavioral development of the child, which in turns hampers the child”s capacity for education and productivity later in life.

“The affected adult person can have poor work productivity with 20 percent less earnings on the average that could translate into a 2-3 percent annual loss in a country”s gross domestic product,” she added. — NNN-XINHUA