The state of diabetes in the Philippines is alarming. According to the preliminary data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2021, diabetes ranked fourth in the causes of death among Filipinos at 19,802, with a high increase of 10.2 percent from the previous year’s data.
One of the most common causes for the prevalence of diabetes in the country is the growing rate of obesity among Filipinos. According to the 2019 survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, the number of overweight Filipino adolescents has tripled in the last 15 years. More than 32 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have cardiovascular complications, while more than 87 percent are either overweight or obese, according to the PSA.
Together, these two ‘silent killers’ are creating a new problem for affected individuals, which the health community has dubbed ‘diabesity’. How does it work, and how can we prevent it?
How Obesity Leads to Diabetes
Obesity is when an individual’s weight is more than what is prescribed and considered healthy given their height. It is often mistaken as the opposite of malnutrition, or the lack of proper nutrition. The matter of fact is that obesity is intertwined with malnutrition. A person can grow obese if their diet is calorically excessive but not nutritionally enough. Obesity can also decrease key nutrients in the body, since excess fat can pose difficulty for the body to absorb vitamin D, chromium, biotin, and thiamine.
Staying obese for long increases one’s risk of non-communicable diseases, which includes diabetes, among other cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Studies have revealed that obese individuals develop a stronger resistance to insulin. The same is true for individuals carrying extra weight, particularly in their abdomens. Because of this, sugar will stack up in the bloodstream. For younger individuals affected by obesity, the chances of developing Type 1 Diabetes are higher.
Why the Philippines is Getting Obese
In March 2021, the Philippines received a national obesity risk score of 6 out of 10 (or moderate risk) from the World Obesity Federation (WOF). The increase in adult obesity among Filipinos was described to have undergone “very rapid growth” between 1995 and 2015, with 5.4 percent in men and 3.7 percent in women. WOF also reports that healthcare costs credited to obesity in the Philippines reached USD 555.8 million in 2016.
A balanced diet is necessary in order to maintain a healthy weight. By balanced, this means that both calories and nutrition should be equally adequate. This should contain fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein.
However, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is rarely achieved by poor Filipinos, especially those based in Metro Manila. Quality foods that are both sufficient in calorie count and nutrition can be unaffordable, according to a report by the World Food Programme (WFP). Specifically, almost all households can afford a calorically adequate diet, but only a slim one-third would be able to afford a nutritionally adequate diet.
Avoiding the Consequences
Having a lower blood sugar level is key to avoiding the development of diabetes. To attain this, it is imperative for one to change their lifestyle.
In order to avoid ‘diabesity’, Filipinos are encouraged to modify our diet, which is heavy on carbohydrates like rice, bread, pancit, and kakanin, among other starchy foods. Healthy eating should start in childhood, because overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese as adults, rendering them vulnerable to NCDs at a younger age.
Increasing physical activity can further help Filipinos reduce and manage their weight. Lowsutea covers all of this in our five-step program developed to help you meet your diabetes prevention goals.
Lowsutea cleansing tea can also aid in both prevention and treatment for prediabetics and diabetics, respectively. Composed of guava leaves and bitter melon, Lowsutea works as a 100 percent natural and caffeine-free supplement.
Not only will it be effective in lowering your blood sugar and cholesterol to normal levels, but Lowsutea cleansing tea also contains powerful antioxidants that protect the body from damaging free radicals.
Diabetes is a big problem in the Philippines. As such, we host webinars via Zoom to educate many people about the importance of prediabetes treatment and prevention. If you want to be part of our advocacy, please contact us through this link.