The world, as we know it, is facing innumerable problems as we speak. All developing countries face similar issues, such as poverty, injustice, and food and water scarcity. However, while people in developed countries may have access to better healthcare services, some public health issues remain universal. These include mental health, road safety, substance abuse, cardiovascular diseases, STIs, and, last but not least, obesity.
Obesity occurs when excess fat accumulates within our bodies, leading to additional health problems. Since the late 19th century, obesity has spiked up exceedingly. According to the WHO, in 2016, more than 500 million adults were found to be obese. Whereas, in 2020, a staggering 39 million children under the age of 5 were either overweight or obese. With the alarming increase in obese people, it is imperative to raise awareness about and address a problem at the community level. To help with that, listed below are some tips.
Take the professional route
If you’re an aspiring humanitarian and believe you can serve society well by improving the health and lifestyle of individuals, consider branching off into a career in public health. By doing so, you can work in several ways to help raise awareness about obesity and its side effects at the community level. And you don’t need to be a doctor or nurse to contribute. Instead, you can opt for a distance learning program on the internet, such as an online MPH, and begin working with healthcare and educational services. Developing and deploying interventions and awareness campaigns will be a core responsibility of your job. Also, you’ll have to suggest ways for people to improve their lifestyle choices in order to reduce the risk of developing obesity early on.
Encourage children to eat healthy food
By changing family habits and switching to healthy eating, parents can do their children a great favor. When children see their parents leading by example, they will be motivated and compelled to follow in their footsteps.
Eating healthy, slowly, and in portions improves digestion leader to smoother metabolism. In addition, try not to use food as a reward or deny it as punishment. Doing so makes them children ill-disciplined, which is why you should consider alternatives instead.
To discourage compulsive eating, ensure children only eats when they are hungry. Substituting snacks, junk food, and liquids inclusive of sugar and fats with fresh-cut fruits, vegetables, and fat-free foods and fluids can significantly curb the risk of developing obesity early on. Try keeping your kids away from processed foods as they are known to worsen the problem. That’s because they contain harmful levels of fats and sugar. Most importantly, they lack nutritional value, making them as bad as junk food. Children require nutrient-rich foods as they need the best of everything to be at their A-game, both mentally and physically.
Encourage physical activity among kids and teens
Youngsters can and should use their energy and zeal to help counter obesity. They should indulge in a minimum of an hour’s worth of exercise every day unless they plan on becoming obese, of course. Throughout the world, one out of every three people has little to no physical activity. Playing sports or having some physical activity improves metabolism alongside increasing body mass and burning excess body fat.
In today’s world of technology and advancements, one of the most significant contributors to obesity is a sedentary lifestyle. Physically active individuals tend to give in to the immoderate use of electronic gadgets and become lazy. To counter this, parents must restrain their kids by controlling access to mobile phones, laptops, and TVs. Also, teens and young adults should develop and engage in healthy hobbies instead of procrastinating in their free time.
Eating and prepping for adults
Just like children and teens, adults need to have a healthy and balanced diet. Moreover, their health almost entirely depends on what they consume regularly. Adults are at a higher risk of being affected by obesity, which is why it’s best to keep track of what you eat and how you feel before and after eating it. Like kids, adults can switch to fruits and vegetables as alternates to unhealthy food. Whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread, are excellent alternatives as they are highly rich in nutrients. They serve as exquisite replacements for highly processed foods that contain refined and saturated ingredients.
However, switching from unhealthy to healthy foods is one thing. The next step is to have your meals in portions. Since it’s not possible to have access to measuring scales, a few hacks may come in handy when making food portions.
The vast majority may not be familiar with the concept of energy density. However, you may have gotten an idea of what it might mean. For example, a juicy beef burger with fries may have approx. 1000 calories. On top of that, it is high in fats. However, the calorie level for a same-size serving of a sandwich will differ because it has a varying energy density and fat percentage. To counter this problem without settling for less taste, you may want to opt for a panini instead of a burger as a healthier alternative.
In adults, stress is a major contributing factor to bad eating habits, weight gain, and thus obesity as well. Stress can also cause diabetes and even increase the risks of heart failure. Stress is perhaps one of the most harmful things in our lives as it drastically affects our mental and physical well-being. Being stressed out often can lead to a change in eating patterns, resulting in binge-eating and other eating disorders.
Encourage strength training and physical well-being
Adults, too, need to work out and be physically active to curtail obesity. An hour’s moderate activity every 3 to 4 days a week should ensure your fitness and keep you aloof from fatal health risks. Getting some form of exercise in the form of jogging or gymming every day will improve the body’s metabolism and give people a feeling of rejuvenation at an old age.
Anyone can become obese, especially if they’re used to a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits from an early age. This is why it’s essential to raise awareness about it, help one another overcome it, and ensure our loved ones don’t succumb to it. The tips mentioned above will help surmount obesity and ensure a healthy life for people living in the community.