alarming number of obese individuals in the recent years, it's time we sit up
and pledge to take responsibility of our well-being, eat healthy, stay fit and
fight obesity this Anti-obesity Day which is observed on November 26 in India.
Overweight and obesity
the fifth leading cause of deaths, says the World Health Organization (WHO),
adding that obesity is causing approximately 2.8 million adult deaths annually
in the world.
According to the
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of
Washington, India is home to 41 million obese people. It secures third position
for the highest number of overweight people in the world. The first two spots
are taken by US and China.
claims that in India, the problem of being overweight was found more among
females, urban and high-socioeconomic-status (SES) groups. And this problem has
spread like an epidemic in India.
What is Obesity?
The term obesity
means having excess body fat, whereas being
overweight which means weighing too much. On an average, a man needs about
2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, while a woman needs about
2,000 a day. The trick lies in maintaining a balance between the in-take of
food and burning of calories. The moment we are not able to burn the excess
calories consumed by our body, we get extra energy which gets accumulated in
our body in the form of fat, causing obesity.
obesity, we need to be physically active, eat healthy and give up sedentary
lifestyle," says endocrinologist Dr. Sunil Mishra, consultant, Medanta Hospital
The WHO says in
2015, there will be about 2.3 billion overweight people over 15 years and over
700 million obese people in the world.
problem of obesity was seen mostly in developed countries, but now it's become
a new challenge even in developing countries. In India, people are keen to
relish the Western diet instead of the traditional food, thus losing out on the
healthy part of the food.
revelation, over 23 percent women in urban areas are either overweight or
obese, while the figure for this is only 7 percent in rural areas. The problem
is prevalent more among the non-poor section than the poor in urban India.
A study claims
that women in India are more overweight and obese than men. A remarkable point
was noticed in case of women in India. For women, media forms an effective
means of learning about new things and to get exposure. Thus, women who were
more aware due to media exposure have two times more chance of being overweight
Media is a great
tool to learn about healthy habits and lifestyle. But at the same time it also
tells people about energy-saving gadgets, calorie-loaded or junk food items.
Women tend to get influenced, thus very easily becoming victims of overweight
New Lifestyle Giving Rise to
fast-paced life has transformed our lifestyle by leaps and bounds. We are
living in a new world where most of the times we are leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Long hours are spent in front of the computers in offices and whatever little
time is left is used for entertainment before the television. People prefer to
use cars even for short distances. Hardly do people have time for exercises and
hours and jobs in shifts give people very little sleep time. And fewer hours of
sleep push people to go for binge eating
, thus leading to obesity.
The new ways of life are also gifting
people with the problem of stress, which in turn plays an important role in
promotion of obesity.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS), cases of overweight and obesity are very
high in urban areas, more prevalent among the non-poor households.
Obesity and Food Industry
The kind of food
we consume has a direct impact on our being overweight and obese. People are
gorging on high-calorie, processed and sugary foods without understanding its
harmful effects on our body. People gradually get addicted to fatty foods which
lead to obesity as they hardly work out to burn these calories. Today, it is
the fast-food culture as people are always hard-pressed for time. Sweetened
beverages are another culprit on the list of items that cause obesity.
Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had urged food and beverages major
PepsiCo to try to bring down sugar contents in its soft drinks. But obesity can
be caused due to other reasons as well, such as genetic and other diseases such
Diseases Associated with Obesity
Obesity is a
growing concern in India as it opens doors to many other diseases and
tops the list of these problems.
As per figures
released in 2009 by International Diabetes Federation, there are 285 million
diabetics in the world and 50.8 million of these are in India.
According to a
study conducted by Dr. Anoop Misra and his team of National Diabetes, Obesity
and Cholesterol Foundation, Delhi has an estimated 29.8 lakh diabetics.
Consumption of refined food and leading a sedentary lifestyle have led to the
rise in type 2 diabetes in urban areas, according to Dr. Mishra.
places a person at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Obese patients are more likely
to have hypertension. Obesity increases the workload on heart and total blood
volume, thus affecting the normal functioning of heart. These problems together
create a fit case for heart failure, high blood pressure and other heart
causes high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that gets deposited in the walls of
the arteries of the heart that supply nutrients and oxygen to the heart. Due to
lack of adequate oxygen and nutrients, a person can suffer from various heart
a common joint problem of
the knees, hips, and lower back, can also be triggered by obesity. Too much
weight can put pressure on the joints, causing pain and wearing away of tissues
that protect joints.
complaint due to obesity is sleep
a sleep disorder due to breathing problems. An obese
person gets fat deposited around the neck, making it difficult for him to
brings about changes in women's
It can cause menstrual disorders,
infertility, miscarriage, and problems in conception. Even in-vitro
fertilisation becomes a difficult task if the person is overweight or obese.
Most of the times, when obese women get pregnant they end up with a C-sec for
delivery. Dr. Manju Khemani, head, Gynaecology, Saket City Hospital, Delhi,
says, "A woman should take care of her weight even during pregnancy as it can
pose problem during delivery and even after it. Expectant mothers should gain
not more than 10-12 kg during the entire 9-month duration. Obese or overweight
moms-to-be have problems in normal delivery and at times they develop
Prevalence of Obesity in Children
obesity has become a chronic problem which is associated with other problems
such as diabetes and hypertension. The reasons can range from lifestyle
problems to food habits, lack of physical activity and genetics. Girls, today
reach puberty at a much earlier age than before. Today, children are more
inclined to playing video games, watching television, using mobiles and
snacking away fast food such as burgers, French fries and soft drinks. All
these compounded with lack of physical activity are only increasing their
abdominal circumference. They are not getting the prescribed nutrition.
Foundation of India also found out that urban Asian Indian adolescents and
young adults (13-25 years), consumed around 1.8 cans of cola per week, causing
2-3 kg weight gain annually.
Time to Manage Obesity
To get rid of
obesity, one needs to bring about changes in the lifestyle. The problem of
obesity cannot be conquered in a day. It is a continuous process. The two most
important steps to start with are cutting down calorie intake and increasing
physical activity. This initiative will yield about 10 percent loss of initial
body weight. To continue with the effort, the person then needs to bring about
changes in eating habits and make exercise a part of the life.
The person also
needs to self monitor his lifestyle pattern. He should say no to empty calories
and sugary food and include green vegetables and fruits in his diet. The person
should stick to a balanced diet and should get aware about the nutritional
aspect of food items, especially fried and processed foods. It is recommended
to eat slowly as this will instill a feeling of fullness and thus restrict the
craving for more food.
Parents need to
educate their children on the ill effects of eating junk food and not including
healthy food in the diet. Parents need to follow these steps themselves first
so that children can learn from them and inculcate the habit of physical
activity in children. Junk and sugary food can be consumed only in moderation
as it is impossible to say no to such treats.
In case of morbid obesity, people also agree to
go under the knife to get rid of that extra flab.