The growing affluence in India has come with a heavy price - the burden of obesity. Paradoxical as it may seem, India needs to grapple with extreme poverty and malnourishment on one hand and the growing epidemic of obesity amongst the affluent, on the other. It may well be called the mother of all disparities, for the moneyed middle class and upper class consume more than recommended and are bursting at the seams, while the poor remain hungry, just skin and bones-both extremes which cost the country very dearly.
The drive against obesity gains momentum around this time every year and November 26th, 2010 is dedicated as Anti-Obesity Day in India. The anti-obesity efforts for 2010 seek to educate the public about the health risks of obesity and the best ways to manage weight.
AdvertisementBurden of The Bulge
A recent study led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), published in the Lancet, has ranked India in the forefront of an obesity epidemic. Statistics point to an increase in overweight or obese citizens by 20% between 1998 and 2005. Presently, one in 6 women and one in 5 men are overweight in India. Indeed, there is a dire need to trim, as obesity figures are bulging dangerously at a staggering 70 million in India.
Explaining the results of the study, OECD lead author Michele Cecchini said, "The results varied across countries surveyed. Seven in 10 Mexican adults are overweight or obese, while nearly half of all Brazilians, Russians and South Africans are also in this category. China and India are also rapidly moving in the wrong direction. Low- and middle-income countries have far fewer health care resources to deal with the consequences of obesity, which include higher rates of cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes."
Today, it is no longer a lean childhood, as most children are having trouble carrying their own weight. There is immense trouble brewing, for 17 % of the youngsters in the age group of 14-18 in India are overweight or obese.
A study by the Diabetes foundation of India found that in a Delhi private school, one in three children are obese. It appears that children are consuming much more than what is recommended for them. Childhood obesity is most certainly a fallout of the present lifestyle, as children are spoilt for choice - fat laden food, plethora of sedentary pursuits, which has made the common child a comfortable couch potato. Gone are the days when children preferred to walk to schools or go cycling. Today, families eat out much more than our previous generations. Junk food is easy buy for the affluent but not so for the poor, which also explains why obesity knocks on the rich door.
Good Reasons to Battle the Bulge
Obesity is not a simple problem for it can trigger at least 53 diseases. Insulin resistance of the body can go haywire causing a major lifestyle disease- Diabetes. Obesity is known to alter blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides, all of which can trigger life-threatening health conditions.
Obesity is also the primary cause of many non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Another study which looked at the health repercussions of obesity, published in the Lancet, has revealed that "by 2030, non communicable disease will account for nearly 70% of all global deaths and 80% of these deaths will occur in developing countries like India".
Research also shows that South Asians must watch their weight as their genes increase their risk of heart disease and diabetes - both of which are a deadly offshoot of obesity. If most Indians have ample waistlines, it is a predictable part of their Indian genetic history and we must do much more than blame our forefathers!
Time to Trim
Effective weight management is easy with a healthy diet and regular exercise. A good way to prevent obesity is to blend in rigorous physical activity and a healthy diet regimen specifically tailored to fight fat.
Steps to keep obesity at bay:
1. Imperative to adopt a balanced diet containing vegetables, proteins, and fruits. Experts advice that the trick lies in sprucing up your diet with more fiber, and giving a cold shoulder to junk food, snacks and bakery products.
2. Exercise regularly, ideally 4-5 times a week.
3. Keep a check on your weight by monitoring it.
Obesity is a man-made problem. It is time to put on our thinking caps and make healthy lifestyle choices in order to lead a disease-free life. Take those crafty food advertisements with a pinch of salt. Junk fast-food. Get Moving. Rewards will come to you in the form of good health which is indeed the greatest wealth!