GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults 18-years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
39 per cent of adults aged 18-years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13 per cent were obese. Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
41 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese in 2016, and over 340 million children and adolescents aged five-19 were overweight or obese in 2016. Obesity is preventable.
Every year Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness about health matters.
As the first month of the New Year has come to an end, for those who haven’t set their priorities, it’s not too late to do so starting at the beginning of February. You have 11-months still to go in 2018 and to achieve those goals you have set out for yourself. A healthy weight and nutrition in 2018 should be one of those goals.
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
For adults, WHO defines overweight and obesity as follows: overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been: an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.
Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education.
Raised BMI is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as: cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
diabetes; musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints); some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
Overweight and obesity, as well as their related non-communicable diseases, are largely preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.
At the individual level, people can: limit energy intake from total fats and sugars; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults).