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Obesity Epidemic in India

OBESITY IS a condition in which there is excessive accumulation of the fat in the body. Some years back it was restricted to affluent countries where per capita income was high, physical activity was low and and foods high in saturated fat and sugar were freely available. But with the dynamic growth in last decade or so obesity has now reached epidemic proportions in prosperous, urban India.
Both overweight and obesity are defined in terms of body mass index or BMI- the ratio of your weight to your height that is calculated by dividing your weight in kg by your height in meters squared. The doctors say that the changes in diet coupled with increasing inactive lifestyles have sparked the obesity epidemic in urban India.
Because of urbanisation and moderniaation, our lives are becoming more sedentary and less physically active than it was before. People are spending most of their leisure time in front of television. Household durable goods like washing machines, cooking gas and electric ovens etc, again reduce the physical activity. Application of transportation even for shorter distance is increasing. All these prevent the people from physical activity and leads to overweight and obesity. At the same time, consumption of oily and junk food is responsible for overweight and obesity.
According to Dr Umesh Kapil of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, “The risk of obesity in India is highest in the 20 per cent of the population that consumes 80 per cent of visible dietary fat.” Obesity is largely seen among adults but is growing in incidence among children mainly because they pick up unhealthy lifestyle patterns from there parents. Kapil said that school surveys in Indian cities show that 30 per cent of adolescents from India’s higher economic groups are overweight. Though the obesity is starting scene in India compared to western countries, it is very essential to tackle the same before it becomes epidemic.
With such high rate of globalisation and industrialisation, more and more people are settling in urban areas and their lifestyle is also changing at great pace. All this is having an effect on human body and people are becoming obese. Obesity is related to various other diseases as well. There is an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallstone disease and cancer of breast, prostate and colon. In fact, there are 30 medical conditions which are directly related to obesity.
Apart from this many psychological problems are related to the obesity. Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. Many people think that obese individuals are gluttonous, lazy, or both, even though this is not true. As a result, obese people often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school, and in social situations.
It is very sure that in coming time, obesity will emerge as challenge for India and therefore this is the right time to throw attention on the problem, as prevention is always better than cure.


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