NUTRITION advocates will capitalize on the observance of Nutrition Month this July to focus public awareness on the role and importance of proper nutrition and physical exercise in preventing obesity.

During the recent meeting of the Regional Technical Assistants on Nutrition, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Rita Papey said persons who are overweight or obese are exposed to serious health risks such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer and musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis. 

Overweight and obese people are also risk developing hypertension, sleep apnea, breathing problems, liver diseases and gallbladder diseases. 

Among the causes of obesity are unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and undernutrition. 

Papey said studies have shown that child undernutrition, particularly during the first 1,000 days of life, can lead to obesity in adulthood.  

According to the Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition and Overweight in Low-income and Middle-income Countries published online in 2013, optimum growth in the first 1,000 days of life is essential in preventing obesity.

Accordingly, infants who experienced growth failure early in life and had rapid weight gain in childhood might be at particular risk of adult obesity and non-communicable diseases.  

Papey also said obesity is caused by dietary changes such as increasing urbanization, globalization – increased trade liberalization making available a large variety of processed food, increased frequency of eating outside of home, use of computers and computer game, influence of mass media. 

To control overweight and obesity problems, she gave this advice: support healthy diets, follow dietary guidelines, and increase physical activity. Maria Aprila Cruz