Obesity in Indians
Obesity is the excessive accumulation of body fat, usually caused by the consumption of more calories than the body can use.Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern, it involves in many of your health risk factors such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The prevalence of Obesity in India is increasing continuously. Recent data shows 8% -38.2 % of the population in rural and 13% -50 %of the population in urban areas suffer from obesity. Obesity is commonly seen in Women compared to Men and increase in children and Adolescents. The state of Punjab has the highest prevalence of 30 % women and 22% men.
The major contribution of obesity is the adaptation of sedentary lifestyle and consumption of energy dense foods.
Causes of obesity
Obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories, particularly those in fatty and sugary foods, than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
The average physically active man needs about 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, and the average physically active woman needs about 2,000 calories a day.
• Eating Large portion of food.
• High consumption of Processed Or fast food .
• Drinking too much Alcohol.
• Drinking too many Sugary and aerated drinks.
Lack of Physical Activity
Some rare genetic condition such as Prader Willi Syndrome.( genetic disorder in which overeating from childhood leads to obesity , impaired intellectual abilities and behavioural problems)
Some genetic traits Inherited from parents such as large appetite may make losing weight difficult, but it certainly does not make it impossible
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Medications for Epilepsy Diabetes and some psychiatric conditions can contributes to weight gain
Body Mass Index
There are many ways in which a person’s health in relation to their weight can be classified, but the most widely used method is Body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a key index that helps you to keep in track of your healthy weight for your height and check for obesity.
• 18.5 to 24.9 – healthy weight
• 25 to 29.9 – overweight
• 30 to 39.9 – obese
• 40 or above – severely obese
BMI isn’t used to definitively diagnose obesity because people who are very muscular sometimes have a high BMI without excess fat.
A better measure of excess fat is waist circumference, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9).
Generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm (37in) or more and women with a waist circumference of 80cm (about 31.5in) or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.
- As per Consensus Guidelines for Indians, Diagnosis of overweight and obesity is done using Body Mass Index (BMI) cut-offs of 23 kg/m2 and 25 kg/m2, respectively
- Waist Circumference for diagnosis of abdominalobesity in Indian males and females are 90cm and 80 cm, respectively
Risks of obesity
It’s very important to take steps to tackle obesity because, as well as causing obvious physical changes; it can lead to difficulties with daily activities and serious health conditions.
Day-to-day problems related to obesity include:
• Increased sweating
• Difficulty in doing physical activity
• Often feeling very tired
• Joint and back pain
• Low confidence and self-esteem
• Feeling isolated
The psychological problems associated with being obese can also affect your relationships with family and friends, and may lead to Depression.
Serious health conditions
Being obese can also increase your risk of developing many potentially serious health conditions, including:
• Type 2 Diabetes
• High Blood Pressure
• High Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis
• Metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity)
• Several types of cancer, including Colon Cancer , Breast Cancer.
• Gastro Oesophageal Reflex Disease (where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the gullet)
• Reduced fertility
• Sleep Apnoea (a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, which can lead to daytime sleepiness with an increased risk of road traffic accidents, as well as a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease)
• Liver disease and Kidney disease
Rising obesity prevalence in India needs appropriate measuresfor prevention and management. Obesity characteristics (including ectopic fat) are more adverse in Asian Indians and lead tomorbidities at lower BMI levels compared to white Caucasians.
Lifestyle management should be advised at lower limits of BMI and waist circumference according to Indian guidelines. Diet and exercise recommendations should be more intensive to prevent and treat obesity and its co-morbidities.