General Wellness

Weight Changes in Early Adult Life

Being in your early 20s can be both fun and a challenge.  For many, this stage is the beginning of an entirely new phase of life – the prospects of having your first job, entering into new relationships or family, or continuing the challenges of learning new things.

In every new life phase comes new routines.  And this may cause drastic changes in lifestyle.  People may start to become less active in the gym or sports because of new challenges at work, or in the family.  Food habits change because of different environments like being with different set of people with different food habits.

Although some studies may vary in their conclusions (Proper, Picavet, Bogers, Verschuren, & Bemelmans, 2013), the changes in the lifestyle may pose potential problems for some because this may translate to weight gain if unchecked in the long run.  Financial struggles and challenges resulting from new responsibilities from the emerging independent adult can also predispose to weight gain (Conklin, Forouhi, Brunner, & Monsivais, 2014).

Knowing these issues and not losing focus in maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only prevents weight gain, but also decreases the potential for chronic diseases in the future.  Managing your time schedules regularly to incorporate even short periods of physical activity can help burn excess fat from previous overindulgence.  Incorporating mindfulness exercises during meals may decrease the risk of overeating and overconsumption of calories.  Being in the company of health-conscious individuals can further motivate you in carrying on with your fitness goals.

Choose to make your health a priority while in the prime of life. 

References:

Conklin, A. I., Forouhi, N. G., Brunner, E. J., & Monsivais, P. (2014). Persistent financial hardship, 11-year weight gain and health behaviors in the Whitehall II study: Persistent Hardship Increases 11-Year Weight Gain. Obesity, n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20875

Proper, K. I., Picavet, H. S. J., Bogers, R. P., Verschuren, W. M., & Bemelmans, W. J. (2013). The association between adverse life events and body weight change: results of a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-957

Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

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The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.

 

References:

Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276