Obesity: An Epidemic Fast Spreading In India
Obesity, as a disease, has spread through the Indian population almost like an epidemic. A paper published last year by the medical journal Lancet says that India ranks 3rd, behind only USA and China, in the list of countries with the highest number of people afflicted by obesity. To put things in perspective, it is worth noting that one in every five Indian is either overweight or suffers from full-fledged obesity.
Another point of deep concern is the demographic trend in the spread of obesity in India. Contrary to intuition, obesity has been affecting not just adults or older people but younger people too, even teenagers.
What Leads To Obesity
Obesity manifests in different ways depending on an individual’s age, sex and general health. Generally speaking, obesity is caused by excessive intake of calories. The body consumes calories for a variety of purposes.
But, not all the calories that we receive through our diet get consumed. Some of these calories get stored in the body in the form of fat. When our intake of calories becomes significantly more than our consumption, all the excess calories get converted into excess fat, and this eventually leads to obesity.
The Body Mass Index
The BMI, or the Body Mass Index, is the parameter used to define and categorise obesity. According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), a BMI value in the range of 18.5 – 24.9 is considered safe and normal. With a BMI in the range of 25.0 – 29.9, a person is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 and beyond puts one into the category of obese. For Indians though, the BMI limit for obesity has been reset to 25.
Obesity – Contributing Factors
Lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet are the two main contributing factors for obesity. Food rich in calories directly promotes weight gain if it is accompanied by insufficient physical exercise. Lack of sound sleep, psychological issues and even certain medical conditions can be causes for obesity. Genetics too can be a contributing factor for obesity. High cholesterol, Diabetes and high blood pressure are some obesity related diseases.
Fighting Obesity – What The Experts Say
Various experts have suggested a number of ways to keep obesity at bay. Lifestyle counsellor and personal trainer Ashu Kumar Jaivi recommends 60 minutes of physical activity each day to steer clear of obesity. Along with this, a change in the workout pattern every 2 weeks works wonders, he adds. Ashu also suggests Yoga as quite an effective way to achieve flexibility and control over the body.
A well-balanced diet is also crucial in this context. Different people have different nutrient requirements; hence, diets should be planned in accordance with individuals needs. Smaller meals at frequent intervals should be preferred over bigger but fewer meals. Nutritionist Dr. Radhika Sharma says that a healthy breakfast is very effective in reducing obesity.
Leave Obesity Behind
Though widespread in India, obesity can be easily avoided through certain healthy changes in our lifestyles. A check on obesity not just keeps us healthy but also allows us to lead a productive, happy and fulfilling life.
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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.