Focus on obesity Focus on obesity

Focus on obesity

WITH YOUR BODY 5 October, 2016 Activa Mesa de ayuda

Physical inactivity is a determining factor of being overweight, which beyond its aesthetic aspects, causes serious health problems.

Gloria patricia abad Nutritionist and Dietician

The increase in obesity registered from the last three decades has led to what is being considered by many today as not just an epidemic, but a central health problem of the 21st century.

Lifestyles changes that have occurred during this period perpetuate the situation. The most serious problem is with children, who with the latest technology are becoming less and less active. Television, together with the rise in the use of mobile devices, videogames and social networks, remove them from physical activity. This leads to conditions like obesity, which used to be an exclusive characteristic of the adult world, yet now is a serious concern for children.

Several studies show a relationship between the rise in obesity and the twofold problem of television:

the number of children that spend hours sedentary in front of it, in addition to their exposure to commercials. In the United States, for example, it was found that every hour of television showed 23 commercials that promoted unhealthy foods.

While a large percentage of cases of obesity are a result of genetics, the truth is that environmental causes are actually greater. Obesity can be fought by providing education on good eating habits during childhood and by taking actions that lead people to have more active and healthy lives.

1 of every 2 people from Latin America are overweight or obese, while the global average is 1 of every 3

Obesogenic environments

Elevators, greater accessibility to transportation and computers, among other inventions that make life easier, have led us to be less active. In addition to this are family habits, commercials and easy access to unhealthy foods.

TV, tablets and smartphones

The misuse of technology by children is one of the main contributing factors of physical inactivity as they spend too much time in front of these devices. This lack of movement, play and exercise leads them to becoming overweight.

20% of children under the age of five in Colombia are overweight.

2 years is the age in which children should begin to get their growth curve monitored on a yearly basis.

More information on conditions related to being overweight can be found at

Practices to prevent weight gain

  • Find opportunities to be active: simple actions such as going up the stairs, going for a walk or playing a sport help. If you suffer from or are at risk of being overweight, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three or more times a day.
  • Eating healthy and receiving proper nutritional education during childhood and adolescence are keys to reducing the risk of obesity. The idea is to teach children from when they are little to have a diet that is rich in vegetables and to eat foods that are high in fiber and protein.
  • A healthy diet consists of including a daily intake of five servings of fruits and vegetables, increasing the amount of water you drink and avoiding soft drinks. Also try to avoid the consumption of processed foods as much as possible such as cereals and packaged foods.

Sources: Overseas Development Institute / Encuesta Nacional de Situación Nutricional en Colombia (National Nutrition Survey of Colombia)