Obesity in our midst

IT would be great if you knew already of this statistic. However, if you did not, you will benefit in knowing it today and doing something about the likelihood of Filipino men and women toward obesity.

In the eighth National Nutrition Survey (2013), the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) reported an 8.5 percent prevalence of a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.0 or obese among adults in the Philippines aged 40.0 to 49.9 years. Adults aged 30.0 to 39.9 years and 50.0 to 59.9 years followed in prevalence at 7.9 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. A far higher prevalence is found among women than men with prevalence of 9.8, 10.2 and 9.9 percentages for ages 30.0 to 39.9 years, 40.0 to 49.9 years and 50.0 to 59.9 years, respectively.

Comparatively, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, BMI of 25 to 30 are considered “overweight,” while BMI of 40 or higher is considered extreme or severe obesity. Overall, though, BMI data indicated that women are 1.66 times more obese than men.

Meanwhile, the cutoffs for waist circumference among Asians with substantial increase in metabolic risks are 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women, according to the WHO classification.

In the FNRI survey, prevalence was higher in age ranges 40.0 to 49.9 years, 50.0 to 59.9 years and 60.0 to 69.9 years at 4.7, 5.5 and 4.5, respectively, for men, while 25.5, 32.0 and 29.0 percent, respectively for women. Interestingly, higher levels also had been observed in age ranges 30.0 to 39.9 years and 70.0 years and older at a prevalence of 22.4 and 26.4 percent, respectively.

Evidently, the trend noted among women, even as young as 30 years old, is alarming. In fact, even those at the age range of 20.0 to 29.9 years have far higher waist circumferences than men; that is, almost five times that of men. Overall, Filipino women are now at least six times more highly obese than men.

Meanwhile, android obesity based on hip waist ratio (HWR) also showed 7.9 times more obesity among women (63.2 percent prevalence; cutoff, 1.0) than men (8.0 percent prevalence; 0.85). The highest HWR are in the age ranges 50.0 to 59.9 years (71.9 percent) and 60.0 to 69.9 years (69.9 percent).

Evidently, the likelihood for Filipino women today to become obese is growing very high. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that “too much food” can kill more than “too little.”
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