A survey has found that around eighty percent of urban Indian working women in the 25-45 age group are obese due to sedentary lifestyle and changing food habits.
"Most of the women who were obese said they were
overweight because of sedentary lifestyle, lack of time to walk or exercise due
to work pressure, and not having healthy food," Heal Foundation president
R. Shankar told IANS here.
The survey report "Rising Workplace Obesity among
Indian Women" -- by Healthji.com in association with Leisa's Secret, a
firm that sells weight loss products -- covered about 2,000 working women
across Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
"Obesity could also affect the mind, and cause symptoms
like insomnia, depression and self-pity," Shankar said, citing responses
of obese women during the survey.
A majority of the women working in the information
technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) sectors gain weight as they spend 10-12
hours sitting at their terminals (computers) in a controlled environment.
"Most of the 'knowledge workers' admitted during the
survey that their walks were confined to going to a restroom or fetching
coffee, tea or snacks from the office pantry or cafeteria. Their work poses a
hazard to their health," Shankar said.
Although many of the fat women expressed satisfaction over
their careers and salaries, they were conscious of their appearance.
"Grappling with weight management could pose
psychological problems and affect not only eating habits but also lead to
depression. Long-term stress influences hormones, which control appetite and
stimulate metabolism, resulting in insulin release and hunger for more
food," chief psychiatrist Neelesh Tiwari of the New Delhi-based World
Brain Centre said.
"Married working women who are also homemakers are
under even greater stress as they have no time to include exercise in their
daily routine. Their own health is unfortunately not a priority for these
women," Shankar said.
Interestingly, unlike their men counterparts, women
knowledge workers, single or married, do not make use of the gym or other
health facilities that many tech firms provide in their campuses for paucity of
time, deadline pressures at work, and the rush to return home to finish
According to chief executive Amit Srivastava of Rapid
Nutrition, an Australia-based firm that offers comprehensive weight loss
programmes, middle-aged working women are prone to debilitating disorders as
the weight loss patterns are not sustainable in the long run unless they give
up sedentary lifestyle, resort to walks and exercise for at least 30 minutes
daily and change their food habits, especially eating junk food.
"A multi-pronged approach to increase basal metabolic
rate, resist hunger and produce calorie deficit with essential micro-nutrients
can help reduce weight and regain a body that is slim, light and active,"
claimed Simon St Ledger, managing director, Rapid Nutrition.