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To Your Health: Obesity, the Heavyweight of Health

Khmer Times Share:

PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) – Over the past few weeks I have discussed hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and heart disease. So now we will look at some factors of these diseases.
What is obesity and how is it measured?
Obesity is commonly measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI).   The person’s weight is divided by their height and calculated using the category below
BMI Categories: 
Underweight = 18.5 Normal weight = 18.5–24.9  Overweight = 25–29.9  Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater   How does Cambodia score on Obesity rankings?   The number of overweight and obese people is steadily increasing in developing countries.   Cambodia is no exception. It is predicted that with the increase of Western fast food, this will further complicate health issues affecting Cambodia and other developing countries. According to the latest World Bank research, obesity is one of the five priority interventions to target among Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).    Contributing factors of obesity:   • Unhealthy diet – high in fat and sugar • Sedentary lifestyle – not enough physical exercise • Lifestyle environment – growing up in an unhealthy environment • Genetics – family history of other diseases    Diet and lifestyle:   When we regularly eat unhealthy food and do not exercise, we jeopardize our health.    A diet high in fat and sugar increases our risks of other diseases. • Heart disease • Diabetes • Hypertension • Cerebrovascular accident - stroke • High cholesterol • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems   There are people with a history of diseases that increase their BMI, but they prevent them with exercise. Many of us can change our diet and lifestyle and become healthy.   Other consequences of obesity:   As parents and caregivers, we directly affect our children’s health. Childhood obesity has long-term effects. When these children grow up, they repeat the cycle with their own children. So we put future generations at risk with every mouthful of unhealthy food.   A healthy diet is essential    There are five food groups which provide nutrients essential for our health 1. Grains - Such as whole-wheat products, barley, brown and wild rice, buckwheat and bulger, cracked wheat. Try to limit your intake of white bread and other refined products. These include pasta, pastry, pizza, cakes and biscuits that are made with white flour. 2. Vegetables – Dark green and leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and bok-choy. Also include celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, pumpkin, zucchini and beans. 3. Fruit – Apples, bananas, berries, mangos, oranges and any fresh fruits in season. Try to drink unsweetened fruit juices, but limit your intake of juice. Fresh fruit also provides your body with fibre and roughage, which are important for a healthy bowel. 4. Meat, fish eggs and nuts – Increase your intake of fish, eggs, beans and nuts. Eat only a small amount of lean skinless meat.  5. Dairy – The dairy group is important for health. But be careful what you choose. Many are high in animal fat. Try to eat low fat yoghurt and milk and reduced fat cheese, such as mozzarella and cheddar. Try eating frozen yoghurt instead of ice-cream.   Exercise whenever you can, even if you just walk every day. You will find that soon you will be doing better.   REMEMBER - You are what you eat. So eat healthy, and live long!!

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