by Vishnuprasad on  December 28, 2015 at 11:56 AM Health In Focus
 Obesity and Overweight On the Rise Among People in Urban Slums of Delhi
The present dietary pattern is the primary cause of obesity and overweight among people living in the urban slums of Delhi, indicates a new study published in the journal BMC Nutrition.

The study analyzed dietary patterns of as many as 260 households in a low-income community in Chanderpuri in the capital state of India. The results of the study highlight the poor dietary diversity with cereals and fats based diet. The study assumes significance as more than half of the population in the state lives in urban slums.

Normally a person's nutritional state is such that the energy intake equals the energy expenditure even if they are low body weight and have low body energy stores. CED is a measure of the nutritional deficiency in a community. The study showed that the prevalence of chronic energy deficiency (CED) was about 2.3% of males and 5.3% for females. More than half of the participants, approximately 66.7% were overweight or obese. The prevalence of both overweight and obesity was higher in female participants (34.1% overweight; 16.6% obesity) as compared to males (11.4 % overweight; 4.5 % obesity).

The people in the studied community were mainly non-vegetarians and majority of the adults and children consumed two main meals a day. Most respondents reported using a combination of some refined vegetable oil along with desi ghee or butter as a cooking medium daily.

Around 56% of households (HHs) reported using 2 or more cooking mediums. The most common cooking medium was refined vegetable oil. The participants consumed snacks that were either homemade or market item. Most of the snacks analyzed were identified to hold trans fatty acids (TFA) ranging from 0.26 - 22.96% of total fatty acids. Consumption of commercially prepared snacks was the primary source of trans fats in the diets of the study community.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi, conclude that an overall contribution of commercially prepared food towards fat intake of poor quality is a cause for concern. This emphasizes the definite impact of urbanization and nutrition transition across diverse communities. Policies should include approaches that raise awareness on healthy diet and lifestyle practices with importance on quantity and quality of nutrient intake. This is, even more, imperative in communities that may have low awareness of disease implications and limited resources for and access to healthier options.

The study results on intakes of different food groups are consistent with earlier studies showing an inadequate intake of pulses, roots and tubers, other vegetables, green leafy vegetables (GLVs) and fruits but a higher intake than advised of fats and oils, milk and sugars in adults. Though the consumption of cereals, meats, fats, and sugars were adequate, intake of pulses and milk along with very low intakes of vegetables, roots and tubers, green leafy vegetables and fruits were low.

Significantly, none of the participants met the recommended intake for vegetables of 500gm per day. A high median meat and meat products consumption indicate the effect of the nutrition transition in food consumption pattern. Though these are good sources of protein in the diet, they may contribute to high saturated fat intake and increase the risk of non-communicable diseases.

The macronutrient (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) intake was adequate, but micronutrient intakes were below the recommended level. More than two- thirds of the study population had inadequate vitamin A and riboflavin intake while almost half of the population showed inadequate folate (a salt or ester of folic acid) intake.

Recent surveys also indicate a change in the food consumption in urban areas over a period 1993-2009 with an increase in intake of more energy- dense foods, particularly fats. Other studies have also shown inadequate intake of folate, vitamin A and iron in adults and young adolescents in urban and rural North India.


Archna Singh, Vidhu Gupta, Arpita Ghosh, Karen Lock, Suparna Ghosh-Jerath DOI 10.1186/s40795-015-0018-6

Source: Medindia

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