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Obesity – A rising epidemic

  By : , Kochi , India       12.10.2018         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027

Dr Deepak Varma,
Consultant Gastro Surgeon,
Aster Medcity, Kochi

Obesity today is on the rise, bringing with it the accompanying risk factors of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Globally, the World Health Organisation has a target to stop the rise in obesity by 2025. The problem is also increasing in India with a Lancet study putting India in the top 3 countries with morbid obesity affecting 5% of the country's population.

Cultural factors are responsible for India's obesity problem including a fat and carbohydrate heavy diet and aversion to physical work in the population at large with obesity being linked to prosperity! A change in lifestyle has added to the mix with Indians increasingly eating out following a rise in disposable income with growth in the economy. People tend to eat more when they eat out, adding to the calorie intake. The type of food that is consumed when eating out is usually North Indian and Chinese or fast food like pizzas and burgers which are all high in calories. Consumption of sugar in food as well as in beverages has gone up, especially in the younger generation. Another effect of the change is lifestyle is that more and more people today have desk jobs which are sedentary. This leads to a lack of physical exercise and promotes obesity.

Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used to find the extent of a person’s obesity. It is a measure of body fat in relation to height and applies to most adult men and women. Estimates suggest that being overweight (BMI 25 to less than 30) reduces life expectancy by about three years, and being obese (BMI 30 or more) can reduce life expectancy by 10 years.

Obesity needs to be tackled early. Studies have shown that childhood obesity increases the risk of obesity during later life and contributes to the early development of a number of conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Therefore it is important that obesity be controlled in children.

The end result of the increase in obesity is a rise in the risk of developing non-communicable diseases. Obesity increases the risk of many diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease and gallstones, gout, breathing problems such as sleep apnoea and some cancers. Abdominal obesity is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity also results in psychological effects like low self-esteem resulting from social and employment discrimination. Focusing on an optimal mix of diet and exercise to lose weight is the advice given by physicians. It must be remembered that weight loss is more than a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge! In cases of severe and morbid obesity, the individual may need to go in for bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach.

It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle to ensure good health for all!

TAGS: obesity,   how to deal with obesity,   controlling obesity,   Dr Deepak Varma,   Gastro Surgeon,   ,  

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