World Obesity Day

On March 4th , it is the World Obesity Day. The ephemeris seeks to draw attention to the need of finding a global answer to obesity, a condition that affects 650 million people around the world. Obesity is known for being to be a major risk factors for several chronical non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cerebrovascular accident, and many types of cancer.

Throughout the years, the Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP) has published several studies that have sought to quantify the obesity prevalence in the Portuguese population, explains the relationship between factors such as dietary patters and obesity, and to understand its consequences. We mention some of the articles that have been published.

Prevalence of general and abdominal obesity in Portugal: comprehensive results from the National Food, nutrition and physical activity survey 2015-2016: in this study, which used data from the Inquérito Alimentar Nacional e de Atividade Física 2015-2016, it is estimated that 22% of the Portuguese have obesity and 34% pre-obesity (are at risk of developing obesity). It was also concluded that the obesity is superior in women, in elderly people and in the less educated individuals, what makes them a risk group. Abdominal obesity (around the waist) affects essentially men, particularly the elderly.

Eating frequency and weight status in Portuguese children aged 3-9 years: results from the cross-sectional National Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2015-2016: in this study, which used information of Portuguese children between the ages of 3 and 9, assessed in the scope of the Inquérito Alimentar Nacional e de Atividade Física 2015-2016, it was concluded that children who make less than six meals a day are more likely to develop overweight or obesity.

Association between dietary patterns and adiposity from 4 to 7 years of age: in this study, which assessed around 3500 children from the Generation XXI cohort, it was verified that 45% of the children, at 4 years old, already has a dietary pattern a diet rich in energy-dense foods of little nutritional interest, such as cakes, sweets, sodas, charcuterie, pizzas, hamburgers, fries, and other salty snacks. This excessive dietary pattern followed at pre-school age tends to remain at 7 year old and, in girls, it is associated with a higher adiposity.

Chrono-Nutrition: The Relationship between Time-of-Day Energy and Macronutrient Intake and Children’s Body Weight Status: this study concluded that children who have a dietary pattern characterized by the skipping breakfast, eating lunch later and eating after dinner, are at greater risk of developing overweight. These were the results of an article which involved 1961 children from the birth cohort Generation XXI.

Association between the exposure to phthalates and adiposity: A meta-analysis in children and adults: the study carried out a systematic review of the literature to summarise the relation between the environmental exposure to phthalates (a group of chemical compounds with effects on the endocrine system, present in frequently used products such as plastics and personal care products) and obesity. Although the results are inconsistent, it was verified that, overall, the exposure to phthalates increases the risk of obesity.

Central and peripheral body fat distribution: Different associations with low-grade inflammation in young adults?: in this study it was assessed the way in which the body fat (central and peripheric) is related to levels of inflammation in young adults (27 years). It was verified that young people who present increased deposition of abdominal (central) fat present higher levels of inflammation than those who have increased disposition of fat in the superior or inferior members (peripheral fat).

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