DOST study: Adolescents in urban areas more likely to be obese, overweight than rural counterparts

Published August 14, 2021, 5:38 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) said adolescents living in the urban areas are more likely to be obese and overweight due to nutrient-poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle.


Citing the result of its study on “Determinants of Overweight/Obesity among Filipino Adolescents: 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey, Philippines,” the DOST-FNRI expressed concern that those Filipinos aged 10 to 19 who live in the metropolis are 34 percent more likely to be obese and overweight than their rural counterparts,

“This may be due to the attributes of the food and physical environment, which promotes a generally unhealthy lifestyle of increased consumption of energy-rich, but nutrient-poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle,” Science Research Specialist Josie P. Desnacido said during the virtual DOST-FNRI 47th Seminar Series with a theme “Good Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days: Starting Right is the Right Start”.

Filipino adolescents comprise 30 percent of the country’s population, the DOST-FNRI noted.

Based on the study, which involve 16,217 adolescents 10 to 19.99 years old, one out of 10 adolescents is overweight and obese.

The research looked at the factors that determine obesity among Filipino adolescents. These include household socio-economic status, food intake, food security, and lifestyle-related practice.

The DOST-FNRI research team noted that the chances of being overweight and obese increase as socio-economic status improves.

Those who belong to the richest economic class are four times more likely to be obese and overweight compared to those from the poorest economic strata, the study showed.

It also found that those with higher household income and smaller household size were associated with higher purchasing power and food affordability. This was cited as a reason why adolescents from the food secure household were 47 percent more likely to be overweight and obese than those from the food insecure household.

“In terms of physical activity, adolescents who are physically inactive are more likely to be overweight and obese than those who are physically active,“ according to the study.

The DOST-FNRI stressed that physical activity positively influences energy balance and weight control.

“Regular physical activity in children and adolescents is important for obesity prevention and in helping obese adolescents manage their weight. As recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) adolescents must accumulate a total of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity of physical activity daily,” it said.