March 4, 2024

Obesity is a disease, not just a risk factor for the development of illnesses, a medical expert said.

Dr. Domingo Solimen, medical specialist at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, said the notion that obesity or the excess of body fats is only a risk factor for diseases is no longer correct.

“We used to say that obesity is a risk factor, but it is already a disease and it can lead to various complications,” Solimen said.

Obesity can be measured in various ways – through body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, or through imaging or the use of a CT-scan to assess someone’s total body fats.

Among other illnesses, Solimen said obesity can lead to complications such as diabetes, chronic heart diseases, cancer, gout, arthritis, gall stones, and infertility.

He said 80 percent of cancer is caused by obesity, which can also impact an individual’s quality of life.

“Some people go through depression because of obesity,” he said.

In the Cordillera, Solimen said 36.8 percent of adults or those 20 years old and above are overweight or obese. This means four in every 10 adults in the region suffer from excess or have bad fats.

For kids five year to 10 years old, the prevalence of obesity is 14 percent.

This is translated to three in every 20 children are overweight or obese.

The World Health Organization projected that by 2030, one billion people will be obese and two billion will be overweight.

Solimen said lifestyle modification remains the best way to prevent and address obesity.

In this era where most people are on their gadgets, Solimen said the time allotted for screen viewing should be limited to two hours.

“Screen time should be for two hours only to give time for physical activity,” he said.

He added instead of calorie-dense diet, people should choose nutrient-dense diets.

Drugs and supplements can also be taken to manage weight loss, but Solimen warned this should be done in consultation with a medical professional.

“Medications must also be complemented with a healthy diet and regular exercise,” he said.

For those who opt to take in supplements to manage weight loss, Solimen said they should assess if those supplements work for them.

“If not, do not blame the supplement,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig