NAOS pyramid: strategies to prevent youth obesity

An educational program has been launched with the aim of preventing the development of juvenile obesity: the NAOS pyramid. We tell you the key points.

Last update: June 22, 2022

Youth obesity is a global health problem that must be solved. For this, strategies have been created, such as the NAOS pyramid, included within a complete plan that aims to improve the functioning of the human body of the youngest.

It is intended to place special emphasis on the need to eat properly.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the NAOS pyramid brings a series of general recommendations regarding nutrition. This is not always the most appropriate. In many cases it will be necessary to individualize and adapt according to the particular requirements. For example, adolescents who are physically active on a regular basis may need a higher protein intake.

Key points of the NAOS pyramid

At the base of the NAOS pyramid are good life habits. It will be decisive to stay active from the physical point of view to achieve efficiency in the physiology of the internal environment.

Also in this way more energy will be spent at the end of each day, which will help prevent the accumulation of adipose tissue. Sleeping 8 hours a day will be key when it comes to making a difference in terms of health.

Within the specific sections of nutrition, the NAOS pyramid is committed to the regular consumption of plant-based foods. These products have proven to be very positive for health due to their content of antioxidants and essential micronutrients, such as vitamins. These are elements that can help prevent the development of chronic and complex pathologies.

In general, the NAOS plan always prioritizes the presence of fresh food. Industrial ultra-processed foods contain simple sugars, trans fats and additives. These elements increase the levels of inflammation in the internal environment, which causes many organs to suffer. According to a study published in BMJcould increase the risk of diabetes over the years.

On the other hand, it is also committed to the intake of good quality carbohydrates, complex type. The consumption of foods such as pasta, rice, tubers and legumes is prioritized. Also cereal.

There is some controversy in the scientific community regarding this point. Not all people need complex sugars in large quantities. Yes for those who exercise frequently, but in the cases of more sedentary young people, it would be good to reduce the contribution.

Rice provides complex carbohydrates. In children who do physical activity, as proposed by the NAOS pyramid, they are a great energy contribution.


Disadvantages of the NAOS pyramid

Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. The NAOS pyramid also has some recommendations that are not supported by the most recent scientific evidence.

For example, little importance is given to the presence of high biological value proteins in the guideline. These come from foods of animal origin. They have all the essential amino acids and have a good score in terms of digestibility.

Proteins are essential macronutrients for muscles to remain active over the years. Getting an adequate intake will help prevent future problems, such as sarcopenia. This is evidenced by research published in the journal BioMed Research International.

Nor does the NAOS pyramid give much importance to fermented dairy products. These are related to a better state of health due to their concentration in probiotics.

These bacteria can selectively colonize the digestive tract, managing to reduce the incidence of many inflammatory pathologies. They will be decisive to avoid constipation, diarrhea and to improve the absorption of certain nutrients.

In any case, restricting ultra-processed foods in the diet will help prevent negative alterations in the intestinal microbiota. Trans fats and additives could reduce the density and diversity of microorganisms that inhabit the tube.

The NAOS pyramid promotes a healthy diet and the practice of physical exercise to prevent childhood obesity.


The combination of strategies is the best option

The NAOS pyramid is focused on offering a series of general health recommendations with the aim of preventing juvenile obesity. However, this does not mean that it works for everyone, since in many cases it is convenient to individualize. It is best to go to a nutrition professional in case of doubt to obtain a tailored plan.

To finish, special emphasis must be placed on the need to promote good habits as a whole. It is not enough to just focus on diet. It will be essential to practice physical activity on a regular basis to consolidate an optimal state of health.

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