Overweight and obesity prevalence among Filipino adolescents significantly increased from 11.6 percent (%) in 2018 to 13 percent (%) in 2021.
This is according to a policy statement on “FAT (Fad and Trending)!: Adolescent Obesity” and data from the 2021 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).
The same survey revealed that males are more likely to be obese (14.8%) than females (11.3%), while urban areas have a higher percentage of obese people (16.2%) than rural ones (10.7%).
According to a 2016 study led by Banna, when a person reaches adolescence, a number of nutrition-related problems arise due to the consumption of low-nutrient energy-dense foods, excess intake of added sugar and fats, and an inadequate intake of micronutrients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and DOST-FNRI reported that the development of obesity among adolescents can be due to decreased physical activities, sedentary lifestyle, altered eating patterns, increased fat content of the diet, and obesity-associated genes.
Moreover, according to the WHO, overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.
The Department of Health’s National Nutrition Council (DOH-NNC) believes that the increasing obesity stigma needs multidisciplinary actions involving various stakeholders in encouraging communities to live a healthy lifestyle and make the country's counter-measures and interventions more effective in protecting the health of future generations.
The DOST FNRI recommends that National Government agencies must develop standard protocols for physical activity programs and routine, provide parents and caregivers with the latest health information and other resource materials, fund and regularly organize seminars or courses on nutrition and physical activity, increase surveillance, and support and fund researches studies focusing on symptoms, prevention, and cure of genetic factors of obesity such as metabolic syndrome.
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