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More than half adult urban Indians have obesity

By Punam

November 14, 2010
The author is a health and development journalist. She has worked with mainstream news papers. She can be contacted at:

New Delhi, India: Almost 65% of adult urban Indians are-either overweight or obese or have abdominal obesity. The rising prevalence overweight and obesity in India has a direct correlation with the increasing prevalence of obesity-related co-morbidities; hypertension, the metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and cardiovascular disease, said, Dr. Anoop Misra, Director and Head, Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospitals, New Delhi, Chairman, National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation (N- DOC ), in a recently organized conference in New Delhi. The topic of this conference was ‘Nutrition Empowerment for Prevention & Management of Diabetes’ (NIP- DIABETES). Prominent medical practicenors and organizations fighting against diabetes gathered at this platform to express their concern on diabetes.

Dr. Misra further said that, obesity is an increasingly important health problem worldwide including the developing countries. In India, obesity is emerging as an important health problem particularly in urban areas, paradoxically co-existing with undernutrition.

He added that, the metabolism of Indians is inherently abnormal, conducive to development of diabetes and cholesterol disorders. Simple shift in diets, choosing low glycemic index foods with high fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, could tilt metabolism in such a manner that blood sugar and cholesterol get metabolized more efficiently.’

Obesity is a major driver for the widely prevalent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in Asian Indians in India and those residing in other countries.

Dr. Misra expressed some suggestions that:

1. Diet is one of the main factors that directly affect blood sugar levels. Balanced diet and exercise may be used alone or in combination with insulin doses or with oral hypoglycemic drugs.

2. Main objective of diabetic diet is to maintain ideal body weight, by providing adequate nutrition along with normal blood sugar levels in blood. 3. The diet plan for a diabetic patient is based on height, weight, age, sex, physical activity and nature of diabetes. While planning diet, the dietician has to consider complications such as high blood pressure, lipid levels, kidney functions etc. Very recent Physical Activity Guidelines was also launched for Indians, to prevent them from obesity and diabetes.

4. Perhaps the most important reason for increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes and hypertension is rapidly changing imbalanced dietary habits (“nutritional transition”). This is due to many reasons; easy availability of convenience foods, frequent snacking on energy-dense fast foods, high consumption of packaged foods in place of traditional home made foods etc. This transition has resulted in excess consumption of calories, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids (TFAs), simple sugars, salt and low intake of fiber.

For every Indian, starting from childhood, correct diets and physical activity should be at the top of daily agenda.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 08:11 AM IST


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