MISSION: BURN FAT | No promotion, schooling for obese cops

ILOILO City – The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) is going tough on overweight or obese policemen. They won’t get promotions and they would be denied the opportunity for schooling to advance their careers.

They have to slim down first and hit the standard Body Mass Index (BMI), said Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, Western Visayas police director.

BMI is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. For the Philippine National Police (PNP), this hinders a policeman from performing his duty well.

Pamuspusan ordered city and provincial police directors to identity overweight or obese policemen and make sure these cops manage to achieve their individual ideal weight.

“They need to exercise more to be physically fit to run after criminals,” said Pamuspusan. “Police officers who are in good shape can easily earn the trust and confidence of the community.”

Besides, he said, taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility.

For adults, the World Health Organization defines overweight and obesity as follows:

* overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25

* obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30

According to PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, the intensified weight loss program covers everybody in the organization – from generals down to the lowest-ranking police non-commissioned officers.

This is in compliance with the directive of Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año putting emphasis on physical fitness for police officers.

In his speech during a flag-raising rites at Camp Crame early this month, Año stressed that police officers should always be physically strong and fit to meet the demands of their job.

“As police, we need to have good health. How can we run after criminals if we are not physically fit?” Año said.

At the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), 150 personnel who are overweight or obese, according to Police Colonel Martin Defensor, director.

He directed them to lose at least 10 kilos each, according to Defensor.

“Last week nagsimula na silang mag-jogging around the city. Talagang kailangan ng pulis na maging healthy para may lakas silang tumakbo,” he said.

It all boils down to self-discipline, said Defensor.

“Strict diet. Dapat isang serve lang na rice or less. Iwasan ang pasta at beer. Mahirap na hindi ka ma-promote kasi hindi na-meet ang target weight,” said Defensor.

What are common health consequences of overweight and obesity?

According to WHO, raised BMI is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as:

* cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;

* diabetes;

* musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);

* some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).

The risk for these non-communicable diseases increases, with increases in BMI, warned WHO.

How can overweight and obesity be reduced?

According to WHO, overweight and obesity, as well as their related non-communicable diseases, are largely preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.

At the individual level, people can:

* limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;

* increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and

* engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults).

However, said WHO, individual responsibility can only have its full effect where people have access to a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, at the societal level it is important to support individuals in following the recommendations above, through sustained implementation of evidence based and population based policies that make regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices available, affordable and easily accessible to everyone, particularly to the poorest individuals. An example of such a policy is a tax on sugar sweetened beverages./PN


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