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Taking control of your weight

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Weight gain occurs, when there is an imbalance between the amount of calories ingested and expended. If an individual eats more than the body needs; the excess will be stored as fat. This means that the two major methods of controlling weight are healthy eating and adequate physical activities and exercise.

Health experts explained that healthy diet means choosing the right kind of foods, preparing them with healthful cooking method, such as boiling rather than frying and controlling the portions consumed.

They said it is also important to drink between 2.5 to three liters of water, and eat a wide variety of foods daily. Adults should eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily; choose whole grains, legumes and nuts. They should also limit salt, condiments and foods that are rich in fat, as well as avoid alcohol, sugar, carbonated soft drinks, pastries and other processed foods.

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Dr. Modupe Akinyinka, a Senior lecturer and Consultant Public Health Physician at Department of Community Health and Primary Health Care Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), said the recommended exercise is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities per day for adults and one hour per day for children, at least five days in a week. Aside planned exercise, however, everyone should also find opportunities to be active throughout the day.

She said: “Aside healthy diet and exercise, adequate rest, sleep and stress management are also important in weight control. Some hormones are secreted during sleep that control appetite and weight.

“People should know their weight and height and calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI) to know their nutritional status, so that they can quickly detect if they need to pay more attention to weight control.”

Dr. Folu Olatona, Nutritionist at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos explained that the weight is a body’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it. So, weight control refers to all the measures taken to ensure that the body weight is within the normal range (Body Mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m).

So, what is the importance of body mass index in weight control? She said: “Body Mass Index is an approximate measure of body fat, based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. It is calculated by dividing their weight in kilogrammes by the square of their height in metres. An acronym BMI is usually used for Body Mass Index. It is an important tool used to determine people’s nutritional status. It helps to detect whether someone is under or overweight or obese.”

Asked about the consequences of failure to control the weight, she said: “If individuals don’t control their weight, they may become overweight or obese. The obesity can put the person at a higher risk of several diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, kidney stones, gallstones, respiratory problems, varicose veins, flat feet and premature ageing, among others.”

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