The Department of Health (DOH) launched a national battle against obesity during the Lunar New Year holiday and is urging people to join the campaign to trim their waistlines.
The movement’s goal is to get people around the country to lose a total of 1,000 tonnes in the coming year by “eating wisely and exercising for the sake of one’s health,” rather than taking weight-loss supplements or undergoing surgery, the department said.
The “Health 2011” weight-loss campaign was initiated after the results of the most recent four-year Nutrition and Health -Survey, -covering 2005 to 2008, which showed that the nation’s health was being threatened by obesity.
According to the study, 44.1 percent of all Taiwanese adults were considered either overweight or obese, with just over half (50.8 percent) of all males and over a third (36.9 percent) of all women carrying too many extra kilos.
A Ministry of Education study in 2008 also showed that 25 percent of school-age boys and girls were overweight or obese.
Encouraged by the Taipei City government’s success in getting its residents to shed 100 tonnes between 2001 and 2003, the -department decided to adopt the city’s measure, expanding the anti-obesity battle nationwide, the department said.
The Health 2011 campaign has set weight-loss goals for each administrative district, with the target for New Taipei City (新北市), the country’s most populous city with about 3.9 million residents, set at 136 tonnes.
It has also targeted weight losses of 101 tonnes among Taipei City residents, 75.1 tonnes among Taichung residents, 98 tonnes for Tainan residents and 103.8 tonnes among Kaohsiung residents.
Chu Nain-feng (祝年豐), a professor with the School of Public Health at the National Defense Medical Center, said the demands placed on the participants will be limited to asking them to “control their diet and move their legs.”
Chin Hui-min (金惠民), director of Taipei City Hospital’s nutrition department, said that if people consumed 300 fewer calories and burned 200 more calories per day than they normally would, they could lose 0.5kg per week.
“Losing weight can be relatively painless,” Chin said, suggesting that people eat foods that are high in fiber and low in calories and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to achieve the targeted goals.
According to the department, people aged between six and 64 who are obese or chronically overweight can sign up to participate in a free weight-control program offered by local public health centers.
The program includes advice on dieting, nutrition and exercising, the department said.