There’s an obesity epidemic going around the world, in developing and developed countries alike. There are more overweight and obese people than underweight today.
The bad news is that India is one of the top 10 obese nations in the world. Morbid obesity is now widespread even in young children and adolescents. Various studies over the past few years have established that nearly 73% of urban Indians are overweight.
There’s no other way to put it – we are becoming fatter by the day.
In India, though, the problem is more complicated. We have to tackle two epidemics – obesity and malnourishment. What most people do not understand is that a majority of obese people are also malnourished because they suffer from various deficiencies.
Having worked in this field for over 10 years as a bariatric surgeon, my work focuses on helping people prevent and battle obesity and its side effects. This was also why I set up CODS – to help understand and fight obesity.
Let’s start by understanding what obesity is. It’s not just being fat. Obesity is a progressive, life-threatening condition which is caused by excess accumulation of body fat. The most severe kind of obesity is morbid, in which the person is 45 kg (100 lb) overweight, or has a BMI of 37.5 or higher.
Again, there is a worrying dichotomy – most Indian babies are thin and fat because though they do not weigh much, they have a higher percentage of body fat, and less muscle mass.
Next week, I will talk about my work at CODS and what we do to help with all these issues.
Until then, here’s how to calculate your Body Mass Index, or BMI. This is a useful link -http://www.codsindia.com/bmi-calculator.html
(There is an infographic on this site that clearly illustrates the problem of obesity in India – http://infographicsmania.com/india-obesity-statistics/)