Plant-based diet best to avoid obesity – Physician

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As Nigeria commemorate World Obesity Day, the public has been called on to maintain a healthy diet, as obesity is the cause of so many chronic diseases.

Consultant Family Physician with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Dr Afiong John, who stated this while marking the Day at UPTH, said it has been found out that complications arising from obesity are related to the many chronic diseases in the world today.

She maintained that obesity is preventable if people make conscious efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, eat more of plant-based diets and avoid intake of processed food.

Dr John, however, emphasized the need for the government and all individuals to act in order to stop the tide of obesity ravaging both the young and elderly.

“Obesity which is excessively accumulated fat leads to several other disorders in the body and the major cause of obesity is genetics, drugs, disease-related and unhealthy lifestyles. The good news is nobody is tied to his or her gene because the genetic expression can be changed.

“We use the concept of epigenetics in lifestyle medicine, meaning the way one lives his or her life using the pillars of lifestyle medicine can actually change the gene. The fact that someone is fat today does not mean the person must remain fat, there is a way out of obesity.

“People must make effort to live a healthy life. When we consume food, especially plant-based diet predominantly, we are likely not to have obesity. Processed food is what causes one to be obese, people should avoid such foods and eat meals with natural nutrients which is the pillar.

“In the fight against obesity, physical activities are very much needed and people should learn how to manage stress. Stress causes obesity in some persons. Also, it is important to seek professional help from doctors who understand obesity because there is a lot of behavioural change that occurs and requires professional attention.”

On her part, Chairperson Society of Family Physician of Nigeria (SOFPON) Rivers State branch, Dr Lillian Zumba, said obesity is not a death sentence but could be managed through quick lifestyle interventions if detected early before adverse effects occur.

“In family medicine, we have some measurements that help us take an objective look at diseases. For obesity, we take the person’s height and weight which we match together to give the figure that can help understand if the patient is obese or not.

“The person may not be fat as often seen, but with the measurement, we can tell if one is obese and we swing into action for management to ensure we manage such a person, all in the bid to prevent adverse health outcomes.”

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