Almost half of Bangkok's population obese, nationwide survey finds
About 30 per cent of the Thai population — or over 20 million people — are suffering from obesity, and the problem is worsening in children and teenagers, an expert warned on Thursday.
Assistant Professor Dr Sanit Wichansawakun, a lecturer at the Clinical Nutrition Division of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Medicine, said that a nationwide survey between 2019 and 2020 had found that 42.2 per cent of Thais aged 15 and above are obese, while 39.4 per cent have a potbelly.
Bangkok has the highest percentage of people with obesity — 47 per cent — and as many as 65.3 per cent of women in the city were found to have a potbelly, she said.
“The problem raises the risk of non-communicable diseases [NCDs] like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases and cancer,” Sanit said at a panel discussion held at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel.
The event was held as part of a campaign called “World Obesity Day: Everybody Needs to Act”.
The organisers were the Public Health Ministry’s Bureau of Non-Communicable Diseases, the Association of Thai NCD Alliance, the Royal College of Paediatricians, and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
World Obesity Day is observed globally on March 4.
Professor Dr Ladda Mo-suwan, an executive member of the Association of Thai NCD Alliance, said that obesity also affected a large group of Thai babies aged below five. In 1992, it was found that 9.2 per cent of infants in this age group were fat, up from 8.8 per cent a year earlier.
As many as 12.4 per cent of children aged 6-14 were obese last year, up from 11.7 per cent in 2018, she said.
The doctor warned that obesity in people at a young age would raise their risk of NCDs four times higher than those with no weight problem. She suggested reduced intakes of sweets and oily foods, as well as proper exercising.