Nutrition and Diet Specialist Ezgi Hazal Çelik explained 6 environmental factors that increase the risk of obesity; made important suggestions and warnings. "Obesity", which is defined as one of the most important health problems of the 21st century by the World Health Organization, is defined as increased abnormal fat accumulation that endangers human health in the short and long term.
It is stated that 100 out of every 20 people in our country are struggling with the problem of obesity. It is estimated that 3 out of every 2 people in the world will experience obesity in the near future. Many factors such as 'malnutrition' and 'inactivity', metabolic differences and genetic features play a role in the development of obesity. "Another important factor that is overlooked is that changes in our behavior caused by environmental factors can be a driving force for obesity." Ezgi Hazal Çelik, Nutrition and Diet Specialist at Acıbadem Bakırköy Hospital, continues as follows: “Studies show that people with obesity problems are more exposed to environments that trigger malnutrition and reduce their physical activity levels compared to normal weight individuals. Some environmental conditions increase the consumption of empty calories, that is, foods with low nutritional value, high calorie content, and lead to inactivity. As a result, obesity can develop due to high energy intake despite low energy consumption. Therefore, environmental change should be added to changeable risk factors such as changing eating habits and increasing the level of physical activity ”. So which environmental factors are effective in weight gain?
Availability of high-calorie foods
Fast food, processed foods, packaged products and carbonated-sugary drinks are among the top negative factors that support the weight gain process. “In today's conditions, delicious foods such as these products, which are energy-intensive but have no nutritional value, are quite easily accessible, and the prices of such products are cheaper than many healthy foods. Nutrition and Diet Specialist Ezgi Hazal Çelik says, “All of these result in excessive consumption of these foods that cause weight gain. However, processed foods and fast food meals that are poor in nutrients; Due to their high fat, refined carbohydrates and preservatives, they cause hunger in a short time, increasing the number of meals and calories taken during the day. As a result of these, weight gain is inevitable, so you can include these products in a healthy diet only if not too often, ”he says.
Because eating has become a part of social organizations and cannot find time to cook at home due to busy work pace, most of us often eat out or order food from outside, but in the last 50 years, especially at fast food outlets, the portions have increased up to 5 times. "Portion sizes and glamorous presentations, which are enlarged for customer satisfaction, can increase the amount of calories by triggering the behavior of continuing to eat despite the feeling of satiety." Nutrition and Diet Specialist Ezgi Hazal Çelik, who warned, lists his suggestions as follows: “Choose small portions in menus you eat or buy outside. Avoid the sodas found in the menus such as sauce, potatoes and cola. If a change in portions cannot be made, consume healthy options such as salad, greens and buttermilk along with low-sauced, grilled or baked main dishes and do not add salt as much as possible.
The possibilities offered by technology
With the advancement of technology, communication tools such as television, computer, tablet and phone have turned into tools where we can reach everything in terms of information, business and entertainment. For this reason, we can now stay on screen for long hours. With the pandemic process, the transition to working from home and distance education system led us to go beyond the increased periods. Nutrition and Diet Specialist Ezgi Hazal Çelik stated that this situation also causes the formation of snacking habits with inactivity and says: “In order to avoid the risk of obesity, it can reduce the screen usage time, when the time you spend on the screen increases due to work or training, get up every 30 minutes and exercise or you can stretch. If you want to consume something while working, watching movies or playing games, choosing healthy alternatives such as unsweetened herbal tea, unsweetened coffee, raw nuts or a portion of fresh fruit will prevent the problem of fast hunger after eating high sugar and fatty foods and your high calorie intake. says.
Insufficient green space
Even if you reduce your daily energy intake, not having a physically active life enough can increase your risk of gaining weight. The lack of walking areas, parks, and areas where we can do physical activity in the environment we live in causes obesity with the increase in weight. On the contrary, spending time in bicycle paths, parks, playgrounds, walking paths and green areas is beneficial in keeping the body mass index at certain intervals. Make it a habit to take a brisk walk for 3-4 minutes at least 30-45 days a week, in walking areas close to your home, in parks, or around the site or apartment where you live, if appropriate. If there are no such areas in your living environment, you can also benefit from online exercises.
The location of nutrients is also one of the important environmental factors that increase the risk of obesity. For example, when you get thirsty and go to the kitchen to drink a glass of water, you notice the chocolate lying on the counter and you may find yourself eating chocolate when you have never thought of it. “This is of course not the case for everyone, but we prefer products mostly because of their location. For this reason, it is very important to put the healthiest option in an easily accessible point. He says it will positively affect his control.
Advertisements about sugary cereals, sugar and sugary drinks appear not only on TVs but also in all areas of our daily life. Foods that are poor in fiber and vitamins, high in fat, sugar and salt, as well as high in animal fat content have started to gain more and more place in our lives with the effect of advertisements. Making our food choices more conscious, including these foods less frequently and in certain amounts in a healthy diet plan will be an important step for weight control.