Health agencies recently tabled a discussion on the obesity situation in Thailand to mark the occasion of World Obesity Day. Speakers at the event disclosed that some 20 million Thais are afflicted by metabolic syndrome.
Dr Sanit Wichansawakun, a professor at Thammasat University Hospital, said obesity can lead to non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease and cancer. She also said current efforts to tackle the issue have not been proactive, with most patients not realizing that obesity is a disease that needs to be treated.
Dr Sanit noted that people are instead placing importance on weight loss for beauty purposes, adding that the Thai public health system has yet to sponsor treatments for obesity under the reasoning that people can control their diet without seeing a doctor. She said successful weight reduction minimizes complications and lowers the cost of treating diseases.
Dr Ladda Mo-suwan, who represents the Association of Thai NCD Alliance, said more children under the age of 5 years are overweight than ever before. Consequences include joint conditions such as bow legs, slow movement, low sleep quality and developmental issues. Other health problems include respiratory and cardiovascular issues. Obese children are also four times more likely to die from chronic, non-communicable diseases than regular children.
Dr Ladda said affected children must regulate their diets and reduce sweets, as well as fatty and salty foods. Efforts should also be made to encourage children to be more active. Additionally, consumption of plain water and milk should be encouraged while sodas should be avoided.(NNT)