Urbanity and obesity

Photo by Vincent Tom Udasco

Most people want to fit in in the so called “urban life” because it is where everything is convenient. But a lot of us do not realize the crippling effect of living in cities like Cagayan de Oro. Doubtful? Check your weight.

I would like to emphasize that being overweight does not necessarily mean you’re obese. The former could be caused by extra muscles, bone, or water but it can not also be denied that having too much body fat or obesity could cause overweight. And guess what? Living or working in cities could augment such possibility.

In Cagayan de Oro alone, one fast food chain is proud to announce that they already have 16 branches in the city. And these fast food chains are very tempting because they offer affordable, convenient, and delicious meals. Who could resist the crispiness of fried chicken and the crowning touch of gravy with the accompaniment of french fries, burger, and sundae. Hey, you may have sustained your craving but a burger could have as much as 563 calories with 33 grams of fat. While a drumstick of chicken is a rich source of protein but it can also have 119 calories and seven grams of fats. Beat that?

People in cities are always busy with work and do not have much time for exercise. Everybody is preoccupied with computers and cellphones for faster work and communication. One could hardly move from his desk. And instead of taking few minutes to stretch, jog, or walk,  people are still hooked with their tablets and cellphones during their vacant time accessing free WiFi services while sipping their favorite ice blended coffee clouded with whipped cream.

Kagayanons often use vehicles for faster transportation, even if the destination is just a walking distance. We may have no subway trains or MRT, but we have “relas,” jeepneys, and taxis to rely on. Tell me if I’m wrong but majority of us still ride on motorela from Xavier University to Trinidad Building. Why would we take the stairs if we could have the escalator from the ground floor to the second floor of Gaisano Mall? Which would you prefer, a friend that invites you to run at Pelaez Sports Complex or the one that invites you for a movie at Centrio? I love Taters.

Based on the 2008 National Nutrition survey (NNS) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), Metro Manila has the highest prevalence of overweight among adults aged 20 years old and above. Logically, Metro Manila is the mother of urbanity in the Philippines. The probability is high that CDO is following the trend.

According to the article that I have read from the Department of Science and Technology, overweight and obesity are one of the serious problems of the modern world today. It is the fifth leading risk to global death. Twenty-two medical disorders and twelve types of cancers can develop from being overweight.

So, how do we address this concern? Well, we may have to lessen if we could not avoid buffet and eat rice-all-you-can restaurants. Eating in fast food chains is not harmful as long as we do it occasionally. Take time to exercise. A 25 minutes of brisk walking everyday is already enough for a hearty life. Why not engage in salads instead of the usual fried chicken meal? Weekends are more exciting if we engage in outdoor activities rather than the usual movie house or shopping malls. What’s the use of living in the highly acclaimed Adventure Capital of the Philippines if you  haven’t even tried our very own white water rafting?

It is not easy to fight obesity especially in a city where fast food is almost everywhere. It requires a life long commitment. But, when is the right time to do it? If not now, when? If you’re answer is now, just make sure you put your heart into it.