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Urban adolescents more likely to be obese, overweight

Adolescents living in the urban areas are 34% more likely to be obese and overweight than their rural counterparts.

This was based on the result of a research on “Determinants of Overweight/Obesity among Filipino Adolescents: 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey, Philippines,” conducted by DOST-FNRI.

This was also explained by Josie P. Desnacido, a science research specialist, during the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (DOST-FNRI) 47th Seminar Series conducted virtually saying this may be due to the attributes of the food and physical environment, which promotes a generally unhealthy lifestyle of increased consumption of energy-rich, but nutrient-poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

Adolescents is the phase of life between childhood and adulthood, from ages 10-19. And in the Philippines, this age group comprises 30% of the population.

The study, which involves 16,217 adolescents aged 10 to 19.99 years old, investigated the factors that determine obesity among Filipino adolescents, and found that one out of ten adolescents are overweight and obese.

The research looked into the link between overweight and obesity to several factors such as household socio-economic status, food intake, food security, and some lifestyle-related practice.

It was found that in terms of socioeconomic status, the chances of being overweight and obese increases as wealth improve. Those who belong to the richest economic class are four times more likely to be obese and overweight compared to those from the poorest economic strata.

Those with higher household income and smaller household size were associated with higher purchasing power and food affordability. This somehow explains why adolescents from the food secure household were 47% more likely to be overweight and obese than those from the food insecure household.

In terms of physical activity, adolescents who are physically inactive are more likely to be overweight and obese than those who are physically active.  Physical activity is a key determinant of energy expenditure since it positively influences energy balance and weight control.

Regular physical activity in children and adolescents is important for obesity prevention and in helping obese adolescents manage their weight. As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) adolescents must accumulate a total of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity of physical activity daily.

The researchers further emphasized the importance of an open communication channel between adolescents and their parents to better supervise and influence them in their food choices. (DOST/PIA-NCR)

About the Author

Susan De Leon

Assistant Regional Head


Current Officer-in Charge of PIA-NCR

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