BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR) is alarmed over the increasing obesity and overweight cases among various age brackets amidst the improving advocacy among concerned government agencies, local agencies and private partners on good nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Rita Papey, NNC-CAR Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator, said that while the Cordillera is faring good in the management of undernutrition, the continuous increase in overweight and obese cases regionwide is alarming and should serve as a wake-up call for concerned stakeholders to refocus their programs in reducing obesity in the region.
“Malnutrition refers to both under- and over-nourished individuals who must be given attention to be enable them to embrace good nutrition practices that will improve their nutritional status for better quality of life,” Papey stressed.
For pre-schoolchildren, there are 6.1 out of 100 Cordillerans who are obese which is much higher than the national average of 5 for every 100 pre-schoolchildren.
Further, there are 7.8 out of 100 schoolchildren in the Cordillera who are obese compared to the 5.9 out of 100 children national obesity average.
On the cases of obesity among those in the adolescent age bracket, there are 11.6 out of 100 adolescents in the Cordillera who are said to be obese or overweight compared to the national average of 8.3 in the same age bracket.
The incidents of obesity among adults in the Cordillera is 34.5 out of 100 individuals compared to the national average of 31.1 percent as of last year.
The NNC-CAR official attributed the continuous increase in obesity cases regionwide to the lifestyle of people, especially those living in urban centers, because of the emergency of ready-to-cook and processed foods which has now become the choice of people for convenience, among others.
According to her, the Cordillera placed second to the National Capital Region (NCR) among all age brackets in terms of the existence of obese and overweight cases in their respective areas of jurisdiction, thus, the need for people to go back to the old ways of life by eating the right kind of food which are nutritious and contain the right kind of minerals and vitamins for maximum growth and the attainment of the optimum development potential for individuals.
Papey claimed it will be an uphill climb for concerned stakeholders to inform and educate the parents on the importance of embracing good nutrition for their children to avoid obesity and overweight, considering that they will be prone to contracting dreaded diseases that will significantly compromise their health condition.
She said it is high time that people learn to go back to the basics of life by eating the right kind of food and allowing children to be exposed to eating nutritious food for the benefit of their growth.
By Dexter A. See