A Professor of Surgery and Surgical Oncologist at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, Charles Adisa, has advised Nigerians to eat healthy meals and engage in physical activities to prevent obesity. The professor said the low-fat diet ‘craze’ is nothing but that, and that intake of healthy dietary fat can improve cholesterol levels as well as reduce the risk of obesity. He recommends instead dietary choices that cut the risk of obesity.
Adisa, in an interview with a PUNCH correspondent, said the consumption of vegetables, less processed and sugary foods could help to prevent obesity in people.
“Contrary to the belief behind the low-fat diet craze of the ’90s, the intake of healthy dietary fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, can improve cholesterol levels and reduce obesity risk. People who want to avoid obesity should eat more servings of vegetables, fruits and plenty of dietary fibre.
Studies continue to show that dietary fibre plays a role in weight maintenance. One 2012 trial found that people who took a fibre complex supplement three times daily for 12 weeks lost up to five per cent of their body weight.
People should focus on eating low–glycemic index foods. The glycemic index is a scale used to measure how quickly a food item will raise your blood sugar. Focusing on low-GI foods can help keep blood sugar levels steadier.
Keeping your blood glucose levels steady can help with weight management.”
Adisa lamented that obesity was becoming a major health problem in Nigeria as there is an increasing trend of overweight and obese individuals in the country.
“In Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals is of epidemic proportions.
The prevalence of overweight individuals ranged from 20.3 per cent to 35.1 percent of our population, while the prevalence of obesity ranged from 8.1 per cent to 22.2 percent.
Data from the WHO shows that the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased by 20 per cent between 2002 and 2010 in Nigeria.
In a recent study conducted in Abuja among staff and visitors in a government worksite, about two-thirds of urban, professional, high socio-economic status Nigerian adults are either overweight or obese.”