Elderly battle hypertension while youths struggle with modern diseases, Post Plus, Phnom Penh Post

As Cambodia transitions from a “least developed country” to “developing country”, fast food chains from wealthier nations are also pouring into the Cambodian market – in response to demand from the younger generation, who are looking for trendy things, tasty foods, and also tend to have a distaste for physical labour. These are some of the driving factors behind the emergence of modern diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases and even cancer.

There are no exact numbers or data on which, or how many types of food, can cause such problems.

“Eating a lot of fast food creates a lot of risks for our health, and it’s even more dangerous when the person doesn’t engage in any sort of exercise or labour,” said Choun Kim Cheng, expert on communicable diseases and general health consultation at the Sihanouk Hospital of Hope Center.

Choun Kim Cheng, an expert on communicable diseases. Pha Lina

He explained that fast food is usually cooked in a huge amount of fat; therefore, the huge amounts of fat in the food combined with the already present protein creates an oversupply of lipids in our body, which in turn causes problems such as fat enveloping the heart, the liver, and arteries, as well as fat embolism, hypertension, hepatic diseases and even cancer.

Ly Cheng Houy, an expert on public health and moderator of the health website Cambodia Health, said young people can face “a number of modern diseases that mostly stem from dietary factors like eating food high in lipids, protein, and carbohydrates”.

He explained that the higher the living standards, the more people eat and the less they work, which provide the opportunity for illness and modern diseases to invade. The most important thing is to raise “awareness regarding health issues” – something that is gravely needed in order to adapt to the developing economy.

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