Obesity, the Growing Health Concern in India and the Need to Tackle it

In India, there is a common saying, which many families brag about, “Hum khate-peete khandan se hain,”meaning they belong to a family where there is abundance of food and beverages.

The underlying meaning is also that if the family members, as well as the children, are overweight, it’s because of good food.
The saying evokes a sense of pride from belonging to a well-to-do family and living a good standard of life, as well as aspiring others to follow suit. Perhaps this attitude is what has led the country to be known as the obesity capital of the world, and that’s definitely not something we should take pride in.

The shocking fact is majority of the population are unaware of the dangerous ill-effects of being obese. It’s not just about the physical expansion which is caused by obesity, this lifestyle disease paves the way for diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, liver failure, and many others. In a survey done by a leading hospital in New Delhi, it found that around 80.7 per cent of people residing in Delhi-NCR region were suffering from obesity – though 78.5 per cent continued to consider themselves as having normal weight.

Obesity is a condition which is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30. BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight in kilograms, divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2)”. The range between 25 to 30 is considered as ‘overweight’.

Alarming Facts about Obesity

1. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4A), a Government health survey, has found that the number of overweight men in the country has doubled over the past decade. In case of women, one in five women is now overweight.

2. While maximum cases of obesity affect urban upper and middle class families, the rural population has also showed a significant number – 14.3 per cent men were found to be obese.

3. Since India is a developing country, one may assume that malnutrition is one of the major factors causing death. But in reality, it is obesity that is affecting and causing dangerous diseases among millions.

4. Childhood obesity is also on the rise globally. Even children, as little as under the age of five, were found to be suffering from obesity. A WHO report states that the number of obese and overweight children under five has nearly doubled since 1990 to 10.3 million. There are various factors involved – no physical activity, junk food, sugary drinks, etc.

(Source: https://goo.gl/RJ2ohr)

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