UNICEF: Obesity in PH jumps 400%

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Malnutrition in the Philippines is on the rise.

Studies show aside from insufficient food intake, malnutrition also stems from overeating.

Middle-income countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand face the "double burden of malnutrition," according to a joint report by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In the Philippines, overweight children below five years old has become rampant, listing a 400% percent increase from 1% in 1992 to 5 percent in 2013.

Meanwhile, wasting, being underweight, and stunting remain high at 8 percent, 20 percent, and 30 percent, respectively.

"Many countries in South East Asia have seen impressive economic gains in the last decade, lifting millions of children out of poverty. However, at the same time we have seen the rise of conditions like obesity, previously associated with high income countries," said Christiane Rudert, Regional Nutrition Adviser for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific.

The report claimed stunted growth in early childhood could lead to a greater risk of obesity, as children who experience growth delay in the first 1,000 days of life are more likely to become overweight or obese later in life.

The rise in overweight and obese children is also blamed on the increased consumption of processed food that is high in sugar and fat, as well as physical inactivity and an idle lifestyle.

In 2006, the Philippines lost nearly P2.8 billion due to coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The estimate almost doubled by 2015, according to the report.