It starts with prevention

There are many reasons for the growing number of Israelis suffering from obesity and there are also many ways to prevent it.

October 28, 2012 14:54
2 minute read.

Exercise equipment. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

The principles of healthy nutrition are widely known, but it’s hard to make the right decisions in today’s environment.

Eating disorders such as obesity develop within a certain context and culture, and there are explanations for it.

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Firstly, a comfortable lifestyle allows us to avoid the physical activity that used to be a part of daily chores. For instance, dishwashers, washing machines, elevators and working at the computer reduce the amount of energy we burn. Another factor is the wide availability and temptation of fast food. Easy access and good flavor encourage us to consume food that is mostly made up of fat, sugar and sodium.

Portion sizes have also increased, and we eat whatever we are served.

Even worse, we’ve gotten used to these large portions and expect them. This is a fattening and unhealthy cycle. The aggressive advertising of fast food on television, online and on other media also promotes increased consumption of sweetened foods and beverages.

Supermarkets are designed to make us buy big quantities and be tempted by aromas. They sell large “economical” packages that cost us our health, weight and, in the end, are also heavy on the wallet.

A lack of green space and safe ways to exercise compel us to use cars or buses instead of walking or riding a bike. And a hectic schedule and ambition at work cause us to spend less time at home. Thus we have less time to make healthy homemade meals.

Now that you have seen the various causes of obesity, take a look at these daily tasks that can help prevent weight gain:

1. Be a role model: Children form habits at home. Parents who apply the rules of healthy nutrition teach their children by example to select the right foods. They also make good use of their free time.

2. Create a healthy atmosphere at home:
This will pave the way for healthy eating habits. Make sure your kitchen is well stocked with healthy and nourishing foods, which are low in fat, sugar and sodium but rich in dietary fibers.

3. Develop a fitness framework:
Participate in extracurricular sports activities, take walks in the park, go cycling and walk up steps instead of taking the elevator. In addition, limit the hours you spend watching TV and sitting in front of the computer.

4. Plan your day well:
Think about your food schedule in advance. By knowing where and what you will eat throughout the day, you can avoid buying fast food.

Prepare a bag of food with chopped fruits and vegetables, yogurt and a bag of granola, sandwiches or crackers.

Don’t wait for your surroundings to change; take responsibility on a personal level, look inside yourself and examine your attitude about food and exercise. Turning a blind eye leads to wrong decision-making, to the development of bad habits and weight gain. When we are in control of our decisions, we can take a sure path to success and gain momentum as we go along.

The writer is a dietician at Weight Watchers Israel.

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