Youth Obesity Rate Rises During Pandemic, Here’s Why – The prevalence of obesity for young Indonesians continues to increase. This is due to changes in physical activity and increased consumption of high-calorie foods with high sugar, salt, and fat content.

Acting Director of the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (P2PTM), the Indonesian Ministry of Health, dr. Elvieda Sariwati, M.Epid, said that based on Basic Health Research data, the prevalence of obesity for ages 18 years and over increased from 14.8 percent in 2013 to 21.8 percent in 2018.

“This condition is exacerbated by the increasing habits of people in consuming unhealthy foods since the pandemic,” he said in a statement

This is certainly very unfortunate, especially obesity can increase the risk of complications from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. People who are obese are known to have an 8-fold higher risk of diabetes.

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Prevent Obesity in Children (shutterstock)
Prevent Obesity in Children (shutterstock)

In addition to diabetes, obesity is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension up to 5 times and the risk of heart disease up to 2 times. This certainly needs to be watched out for because the prevalence of these chronic diseases continues to increase in Indonesia.

“Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension are also comorbid COVID-19 factors, which can increase the risk of severity and death when positively exposed to COVID-19,” added Dr. Elvieda.

The same was revealed by Dr. Marya Haryono, MGizi, SpGK, FINEM, Clinical Nutrition Specialist. He explained that obesity is the accumulation of excess fat due to an imbalance of energy intake (energy intake) with energy used (energy expenditure) for a long time (WHO, 2000).

Coupled with the high frequency of online activities during the pandemic, making young people have the habit of snacking or consuming foods high in sugar, salt, fat while studying or working, followed by a lack of physical activity while they are at home, which can cause fat to accumulate and risk obesity. .

Obesity can be prevented at a young age by regulating the energy balance in the body. It can be started from regulating sleep patterns or adequate rest, continuous physical activity patterns with low to moderate intensity.

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“Emotional patterns of eating also need to be regulated because eating habits in excess and tend to choose unhealthy foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat are caused by emotions,” he explained.