Aditya R, Kenzu T, Jakarta – Sixty-eight million adults in Indonesia are obese due to unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, Ministry of Health's acting director of prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, Dr. Elvieda Sariwati, M.Epid, informed.
"One in three adults, or about 35.4 percent (68 million adults), is obese. This is a huge problem," Sariwati remarked during a discussion on nutrition and obesity at the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Annual Meeting 2021 here on Friday.
She explained that obesity has also been seen in children. One in five Indonesian children aged 5 to 12 years, or 20 percent of the children nationwide, are overweight, she said.
According to Sariwati, this figure is quite alarming because obesity is a common risk factor for the emergence of non-communicable diseases.
Obesity is closely related to high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus, which are also associated with fatal diseases such as heart failure and stroke, she highlighted.
Citing data from the 2017 National Socioeconomic Survey, she deemed food pattern consumption of most Indonesian people as the cause of obesity.
"From the 2017 data, it turned out that processed/instant foods and beverages were the most consumed foods, about 32.7 percent," she explained.
Such types of food become a risk factor for obesity because they are high in sugar, according to Sariwati.
Poor diet is also the number one risk factor for death and disability in Indonesia, especially in relation to non-communicable diseases, she added.
In addition to an unhealthy diet, human behaviors that may cause non-communicable diseases are not getting enough physical activity, Sariwati said.
Looking at the comparison of Basic Health Research from 2013 and 2018, there has been an increase in the lack of physical activity from 26.1 percent to 33.5 percent, she informed. Unhealthy eating patterns rose from 93.5 percent in 2013 to 95.5 in 2018, according to Sariwati.