Debunking myths about obesity and high blood pressure

AFTER According to our 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), one in five adults is obese, and the rate of obesity is trending upwards.

Overweight people are at least nine times more likely to develop high blood pressure than people of normal weight. High blood pressure is a “silent killer” that can lead to serious conditions like cardiovascular disease or stroke without showing many symptoms, so prevention is better than cure.

The World Obesity Day 2023 theme ‘Change Perspective: Let’s Talk About Obesity’ aims to raise awareness and reformulate the misconceptions about obesity and the health problems associated with it.

Here are some common myths, facts, and recommendations about obesity and high blood pressure.

Myth: Only severely obese people are at risk of high blood pressure

Overweight and obese people have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure compared to people of normal weight.

Even people with normal weight but central obesity are also at risk of high blood pressure.

It is therefore crucial to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) of less than 23 kg/m2 and an optimal waist size (less than 80 cm and 90 cm for women and men respectively).

This can be achieved by taking small steps to lead a healthier lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Myth: All obese people will eventually, sooner or later, get high blood pressure

Not all obese individuals have high blood pressure.

However, obese individuals have a higher risk of high blood pressure in response to higher levels of obesity.

It’s preventable if you can start practicing a healthier lifestyle.

Therefore, have your blood pressure checked and carry out regular check-ups so that high blood pressure can be detected and treated earlier.

Myth: The only ways to prevent obesity and high blood pressure is to eat less and exercise more

Eating less and exercising more will help you lose weight. However, getting enough sleep, managing stress properly, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of obesity and high blood pressure.

Therefore, try to eat healthier by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while reducing your intake of processed, high-calorie, and high-salt foods.

Integrate physical activity into your everyday life, for example by walking up the stairs instead of using escalators.

Getting enough quality sleep and managing stress well would also be beneficial, aside from getting rid of tobacco and alcoholic beverages.

By understanding the facts behind the myths, we can conclude that obesity and high blood pressure are preventable.

A healthier lifestyle and regular check-ups are the key factors in the fight against obesity and high blood pressure.

So take small steps today to start and make a change to eat well, sleep well and stay healthy.

Encourage your family members, friends and the community to join you in facilitating access to healthy living and getting rid of unhealthy choices.

Together, small changes make a big difference. Debunking myths about obesity and high blood pressure

Russell Falcon

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