Heavy Philippines

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By Dr. Victor Dumaguing

To Your Health

Friday, January 24, 2014


WITH a projected population of 100 million Filipinos anytime soon, the Philippines seems to get smaller every day, just like the rest of the world, due to the increasing number of its citizen expanding their waistlines which obviously occupy a lot of space in buses, trains, jeepneys or even in big malls.

The International Obesity Task Force has a recent figure of 1.9 billion people worldwide who are either overweight or obese. In the Philippines, one out of six has weight problems, that is excess baggage in their abdomen, buttocks, behind their thighs and even in their chins.

The global standard for identifying and classifying persons is based on body mass index, calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by his height in meters squared. The normal BMI is from 23-24, overweight if more than 25, obese if more than 30.

In the Philippines, just like the rest of the world, this excess weight problem has been conveniently blamed on fast foods where the usual meal is made of high fat, high carbohydrate, a few protein and minimal veggies or fresh fruit. The so-called fruit juices are also laden with fructose, which is easily converted into glucose in the blood thereby increasing the sugar in the circulation not only among diabetics but pre-diabetics, unaware of the medical disaster they are headed to.

A recent survey, however, showed the main culprit is the individual person himself or herself. An interesting finding is the honesty and candor of the respondents admitting that it is the individual's decision - wrong or otherwise - that ultimately predominates as to his or her choice of food. Thus it is very much a personal and private matter - this choice of food or favorite meal - that works probably both in the subconscious as well as conscious level that drives a person to seek one food as their eyes or finger scan the menu.

Next Week: Filipino Beliefs about Being Fat

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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