Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Experts convened in Hà Nội recently to discuss the importance of controlling weight at a workshop on healthy lifestyles and diets.
Obesity is nothing new and people who are overweight or obese often have health problems that may increase the risk of heart disease.
Từ Ngữ, secretary general of the Việt Nam Nutrition Association, said the rate of obesity had been increasing in Việt Nam, and warned of the development of chronic diseases within the community.
“The rate of obesity (Body Mass Index over 23) was 16.3 per cent based on a survey of 17,000 people aged 25-64 conducted nationwide last year,” he said.
"The number of overweight children and teenagers has increased due to the high consumption of fastfood, the use of electronic devices (smartphones and ipads) and a lazy lifestyle."
The demand for losing weight has increased at the same time with people becoming more aware of the risk of diseases and wanting to look more attractive. There are numerous methods to lose weight such as taking supplements, weight loss pills, diets, exeercise or combining these methods at the same time.
However, experts also warned of the harmful effect of losing weight loss in the wrong way.
“Our diets and lifestyles may not effect tomorrow, but in later years we may see the impacts on our health,” said Ngữ.
“Diets should be combined with exercise to help us stay healthy. I often eat at home, say ‘no’ to industrial food, and consume vegetables first at every meal.”
Ngữ stressed that lifestyle was particularly important within the family because parents could set an example for their children.
If the parents are overweight and have unhealthy habits, the children have a higher risk of being obese.
Marathon runner and cardiologist Đinh Linh pointed out the side effects of low-calorie (low carb or no carb) diets which have become popular in Việt Nam in recent years.
“If you are on a low-calorie diet, then you’re be restricting yourself to certain types of foods, which won’t allow you to get enough vitamins and minerals,” he said.
“These types of diets may cause rapid weight loss, but most of it is water and muscle mass, not fat, which is what you want to lose. Plus, you probably won’t be able to keep the weight off. Weight loss from low-calorie diets can cause serious health problems among teenagers, such as bad breath, diarrhea and even hair loss.”
Linh shared this on his Fanpage from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress held in August, pointing out that low-carb diets may not be healthy in the long run. He stressed that it should not be considered as a lifestyle.
Nguyễn Thị Lâm, vice director of the National Institute of Nutrition, shared her knowledge about the use of dietary supplements, adding that people should only use herbal remedies.
“Using supplements where necessary and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to keep fit and strong,” she said.
“If you skip a meal to lose weight, then you may end up overeating at your next meal to make up for those missing calories,” she said.
Nguyễn Kiều Anh, CEO of a cosmetics brand, shared her own story about putting on 20kg after giving birth. She was tired due to the massive weight gain, and even visited hospitals abroad to find a way to lose weight.
Having learned from the experience, she started working with domestic medical companies to produce supplements for Vietnamese people.
“Việt Nam is rich in herbs which are good for the health, so I think we don’t have to go far to find them. Supplements with natural ingredients such as lotus leaves, bitter melon and raspberries have been certified by the Ministry of Health and are safe and effective.”
Lâm explained that Vietnamese people are familiar with these ingredients because they have been used in traditional medicine for many years. She also expressed her concern that many uncertified dietary supplements are now widely available on Facebook with eye-catching advertisements.
“Weight loss should be a long-term process, not rushed,” she said. “We recommend that a healthy lifestyle is the most sustainable method to control weight.”
The conference was organised ahead of World Obesity Day (October 11) which aims to promote practical solutions to end the global obesity crisis. — VNS