Increased body weight and consumption of large portions of food predispose people to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart diseases, stroke, asthma and various cancers.
Dr. Mercy Bob said a healthy body weight should have the Body-Mass Index (BMI) ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 with 25 and above being categorised as overweight and obese.
She added that a number of people have wider busts than their measured heights and warned that should be a serious cause of concern for their health.
Dr. Bob said the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey recorded 47.1 per cent of women in the country as either obese or overweight and Nairobi, Kiambu and Nakuru Counties were leading.
She was speaking on Friday during a health seminar at the Crater Seventh Day Adventist Church in Nakuru Town.
The medic said the demographic survey has been proved right since Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) were now the leading cause of admissions in all major hospitals in the country, and the modifiable risk factor was overweight and obesity.
However, she said although obesity was a growing public health problem, it was manageable at a personal level through the simple adjustments of lifestyles’ such as eating habits and exercises.
Dr. Bob said the major problem in the country was the high consumption of carbohydrates such as ugali, potatoes, githeri and chapatis which leads to high blood cholesterol in the blood because the body stores excess food as fats.
She urged wananchi to periodically carry out cholesterol tastes since even underweight people with elevated cholesterol were inclined to non-communicable diseases as it causes plaque to form in arteries, leading to blockage.
Dr. Bob added that the major determinant of a human being’s health was what they eat and how active they are on a daily basis, but a sedentary lifestyle was a killer.
A teacher, who was used as a demonstration for measuring BMI, Caroline Nyansikera, concurred with the doctor that the eating patterns of Kenyans have changed due to availability and affordability of food.
‘’When l was employed as a teacher we only ate at our homes but nowadays in the staffroom, we are served tea at ten o’clock, lunch and four o’clock tea and yet when we get home we still eat. In the past, we walked to school but now we use motorbike taxis because they are affordable,’’ she stated.
By Veronica Bosibori