Uytumaba ka ha!

Over the recent years, this seemingly passive greeting supposedly part of Philippine culture has received flak for perpetuating body shaming and instilling insecurities within those on the receiving end. For some, gaining weight may only be temporary. For others, however, it may well be the beginning of a battle with a chronic disease that some people still think is a myth.

Obesity, sometimes called the silent pandemic, poses a very real health risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 out of 4 Filipinos1 are either overweight or living with obesity, mostly those in urban areas. With the COVID-19 pandemic, obesity was even identified as a comorbidity.

To address this, Novo Nordisk Philippines, in time for World Obesity Day last March 4, launched “The Body of Truth” — an online hub that raises awareness, busts myths about obesity, and makes publicly available various resources like performance monitoring apps, BMI measuring tools, and food intake tracking.

This first week of September, by virtue of Proclamation No. 162 signed on the 21st of August 1999 by former President Joseph Estrada, we observe Obesity Prevention Awareness Week in the country. This proclamation noted that obesity was one of the country’s serious health problems. In line with that, Novo Nordisk continues to use innovation and technology to help empower those living with obesity in a bid to beat the disease bypresenting a webinar. Kalingang Novo Nordisk (KNN) is hosted on the organization’s Facebook page, aims to raise awareness on different diseases that Filipinos suffer from. This month, it puts the spotlight once again on beating obesity. 

Kicking off the week of observance, KNN mounted a webinarentitled ‘The Importance of Early Prevention and Management of Obesity: A Multimodal Approach’ last September 3. The discussion focused on obesity in the country and how to prevent it by means of various interventions. Most notably, the webinarrecognized the reality that, for certain patients, lifestyle changes like diet and exercise may not suffice because obesity is a chronic disease, and may therefore require medical intervention such as pharmacotherapy. The said engagement was hosted by Dr. Blesilda Salvador, a multi-awarded physician from Delos Santos Medical Center and former health broadcaster of Dr. [email protected] Ur Serbis from DZMM Teleradyo. Noteworthy speakers included Dr. Nemencio A. Nicodemus, Jr. of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM) and the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) and Ms. Zenie Velasco of the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP).

The webinar also launched the Body of Truth 8-week wellness challenge with Coaches Jim and Toni Saret of FitFil, to help participants jumpstart their health and fitness journey. To join the closed Facebook group hosting the exclusive workout videos and community engagement with the coaches themselves, sign up here: Body of Truth 8-Week Challenge. Registration is free.

“These campaigns raising awareness about obesity are addressing a challenge we’ve long faced. Now, we have multiple ways of trying to beat this chronic disease, depending on what fits the patient’s lifestyle. Exercise and dieting works for some people, but we recognize that there is no solution that fits all, so we continue to find the most inclusive ways to help manage this disease that can afflict any one of our loved ones.” Says Dr. Nemie Nicodemus from PSEDM & PASOO.

Here are some key takeaways from the recently concluded webinar:● A healthy lifestyle CAN help in obesity management. Maintaining a whole and healthy diet, coupled with regular exercise can indeed help prevent and manage a chronic disease such as obesity. It will always be best to consult with a dietician or nutritionist on the best dietary plan for your condition. As for exercise, one need not go to a gym — many exercise routines can be done in the comfort and safety of your own home!● But if that lifestyle doesn’t work for you, it’s NOT necessarily your fault. Though many people try and do their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, some people may still fall off it if the results don’t meet expectations. This is particularly true if there is constant weight regain. The reality is that obesity is a multifactorial disease which can contribute to this seeming ‘failure’. Patients are reminded that they are not to blame! The best course of action is to consult a medical doctor and ask about ways to manage obesity, which may be linked to other diseases such as diabetes and heart failure.● The stigma can end NOW. People living with obesity are faced with a stigma that they’ve simply led an unhealthy lifestyle. This stigma can stem from their acquaintances, friends, and worse still, their own family. But Novo Nordisk stands with patients living with this chronic disease. You are not alone in the fight, and together, the Filipino people can collectively raise awareness around the disease until it is beaten.

Novo Nordisk continues to work with private and government stakeholders and external partners to aid Filipinos in the fight against obesity, bolstering its research and furthering innovation to help those living with the disease. For those living with obesity, openly talk to our doctor and healthcare partners about your condition to get you started on a nutrition plan. For more information about The Body of Truth and the Kalingang Novo Nordisk webinar, visit The Body of Truth FB page. For information about Novo Nordisk’s efforts, visit

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