Cambodia’s Silent Enemy – Obesity

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Cambodia has a silent enemy! An enemy that Government and the community are not paying close attention to. An enemy, that if not tackled head on, will result in not only an increase in serious health issues amongst the Cambodian people but will create a financial burden for future generations when the Government are exposed to massive costs to solve the health problems..

240_F_92149771_NYERDGGtfNtr9vtnCfqaHi7LyIs9jr9wIm talking about Obesity.

Over the past 5 years I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of obese people in Cambodia, particularly young children below the age of 10, many of whom appear to be grossly overweight. For a culture that has primarily had a staple diet of soups, rice, vegetables and meats, the increase in the number of obese people can only mean one thing; that the dietary behaviors of Cambodian people has changed.

There is no doubt in my mind that the dietary behavior in Cambodia has notably changed since 2005 when an influx of western foods, particularly fast foods and sugary drinks started to flood the market. Companies like Pizza company, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Carls Jnr, BB World, KFC, Dairy Queen and other sweet food outlets entered the market and branded drinks with high sugar content like soft drink, fruit juices and energy drinks became a popular substitute for water.

240_F_176743227_jRCO6kv9RjdP3F00kS2JgRu0ELP1xFGWBut the increase of obese Cambodian people , particularly young children can not be blamed solely on the fast food and drink influx, it is also exasperated by the fact that young children have become less physically active and focused more on computer games, smartphones and other IT products that allow them to sit idle, staring at a screen.

Obesity is a very serious problem globally according to the World Health Organization ;

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.

For the record, Im not a health freak that is paranoid about calories and making sure that my family and I don’t eat fast food. On the contrary, we as a family do from time to time eat junk food; when we go to the movies we buy packets of chips and/or popcorn, or we stop at Burger King to grab some chicken nuggets on the way home from a day and we do have the occasional soft drink, but we are very mindful of not making it common practice, ensuring that we eat good healthy, balanced meals at home, and we are a very active family, ensurng that we and the children get outside and exercise as much as we possibly can.

e1926dI am concerned about Cambodia’s children and the looming health issues; attention needs to be paid by Government and parents need to be educated on the health problems associated with eating junk food, drinking sugary drinks and not doing exercise. If I have now got you thinking, please check this website which can easily give you an indication of whether or not you need to make some lifestyle changes.

After all, your life depends on it!