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How to prevent overweight and obesity in time of quarantine

Health experts across the globe are concerned that staying at home may contribute to obesity especially for people living in urban set ups. This is because people are stocking up on a lot of highly processed and high energy comfort foods. At the same time, opportunities for physical activity have greatly reduced. But even with the situation, we are not helpless. We can take action to prevent weight gain, and resulting overweight or obesity.

To gain weight, you need to be consuming more energy than you are expending. This is why, it is advisable to manage food portions based on our daily needs.

As it is, majority of us are presently more sedentary. So instead of spending all day on the computer, or on the couch keeping up with the movies and books, have a schedule that includes other activities including waking up time, meals time, working time, exercise time, all the way to when you sleep. 

Inadequate sleep has been associated with weight gain. It is therefore critical that you ensure you are getting enough sleep.

Having specific meal times will keep you from eating unnecessarily. So plan to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, with in between fruits, nuts or vegetable snacks. The idea is to have small meals spread out throughout the day. More importantly, scheduled meal times will help you to catch up on your water intake. 

Now, to manage your portion and control your calories, focus on having more of vegetables and plant based proteins, and less of starches and fatty foods. It is also important to pay attention to your body cues: eat only when hungry, and stop eating when you feel full. It may help to have a regular bowl or plate which keeps the portions in check. 

Lastly, you now have time to create a sustainable exercise routine. Get on YouTube and find something that fits you.

Remember that children are also at risk of overweight and obesity. So make schedules for them as well; and if you cannot incorporate them in your fitness routine, find them something more suitable.

It is also advisable to take breaks in between sitting time for stretches, push ups, jumping jacks, or just a walk around the house.  


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Christine Nderitu

Licensed Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner, Christine, helps people lead healthy lifestyles through health education and behaviour change practices that are simple and practical. She writes a weekly (Monday) nutrition column in the People Daily and is experienced in nutrition management, research, health education and promotion in; HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health and Non-Communicable Diseases. She has been engaged in these activities since 2011. Christine feels the world needs more stories that celebrate and normalize desired (good) behaviour. And humanity-we have many preventable and often manmade public health issues today.