Will India’s obesity rate be triple in 2040?

Obesity

According to a study conducted in 2020, India’s overweight rate will be more than double, and the obesity rate will be triple in 2040. This study keeps into consideration multiple factors to forecast the future rate of obesity in India. This study further forecasts that people with older age will be greater affected by it. As compared to urban areas, rural areas will be ahead in obesity and overweight issues.

But why that study needs to be conducted? What are the circumstances that make it necessary to forecast the future of India regarding obesity?

The reasons are obvious and frightening as well. In the last few decades, the rate of obesity has increased at a rapid speed in India.

Not just older people, younger people, especially children, are also at higher risk of obesity. According to another study, in 2025, the number of obese children in India will be 17 million.

An increase in obesity (whether in adults or children) clearly means an increase in multiple diseases   (associated with obesity) and their effects on the economy.  As India is the world’s sixth-largest population country, it must make an effective step towards controlling obesity in the country.

First, we will see what obesity is? What factors declare a person to be obese?

Obesity definition

Obesity is such a condition in which extra fat is stored in a person’s body. This extra fat leads to hurting that person’s health. BMI (body mass index) is used to label any person as underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese. It is calculated by dividing the weight of a person by the height of that person.

  • The BMI range for an obese person is greater than 30.
  • The BMI range for an overweight person is between 25.0 to 30.

Obesity symptoms

BMI is not the only factor to label someone obese or not. Other symptoms of obesity must be taken into notice.  These symptoms are following:

  • Waist circumference is higher than 102 cm in men.
  • Waist circumference is higher than 88 cm in women.
  • Lower limbs have swelling and varicose veins.
  • Some areas of the body get darker.
  • A person is having back pain or joint pain.
  • Insufficient sleep after the increased weight
  • Having infections in the skin folds

India’s obesity rate causes

Multiple factors are contributing to increased India’s obesity rate These factors need to be rectified to make the situation better.

1.      Lack of physical activity

People, especially kids, are more interested in indoor activities like the internet, computer games, etc. outdoor activities are now limited due to the lack of parks and open spaces in communities.

2.      More use of junk and processed food

Children find it modern to eat out and have junk food regularly. Instead of fruits and vegetables (which they think are old fashioned), they prefer processed food. Unhealthy food daily can easily cause obesity and overweight issues.

3.      Increase in screen time

Screen time of the majority population has increased to a significant level. Not just adults, kids spend most of their free time on mobiles, playing video games, and watching cartoons.

4.      Higher intake of sugar

According to the Obesity Foundation of India, the use of sugary sodas in kids has increased by 300% in the previous two decades. Several studies support the idea that a high intake of sugars results in weight gain.

5.      Lack of awareness

There are many false traditional beliefs about healthy food and diet plan. Parents don’t even know what a well-balanced means. Lack of proper knowledge is a major factor in obesity.

Impacts of obesity

Heart diseases, mental illnesses, diabetes: Metabolic disorders are silent  killers in India

Unfortunately, obesity is a very dominant cause of death globally as it leads to many other medical complications like heart attacks; the death rate in adults and children is even higher due to obesity. Obesity also causes many other diesaese.

1.      Heart Disease

According to the American Heart Association, obesity is a major cause of having heart disease. People with severe obesity are likely to have coronary artery disease, leading to a heart attack.

2.      Diabetes

The second common disease trigger by obesity is diabetes. Those people who are obese have ten times greater chances of having diabetes. It is a major reason behind type 2 diabetes.

3.      High blood pressure

High blood pressure is also one of the common impacts of obesity. Most obese people are having high blood pressure issues. High blood pressure results in thickening of the arteries, which can result in a heart attack.

4.      Joint problems

Obesity can also cause joint problems as heavyweight puts extra pressure on the bones.

5.      Respiratory infections

The lung capacity of obese persons reduces with time, and there are greater chances of having various respiratory infections like asthma is more common among obese people.

Obesity treatment

Prevention of this disease is mandatory. Following are suggestions or initiatives that must be taken by the government and public as well to improve the current situation of India.

1.      Awareness campaigns

The government of India must take an active part in the control of this situation. Different awareness campaigns must be initiated to educate people, especially families, about this issue’s seriousness. The idea of a well-balanced diet must be widespread throughout the country. This will lower India’s obesity rate.

2.      Promoting a Healthy diet

A healthy diet that contains all the nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein, dairy, vegetables, and nuts) is mandatory to control it. An increase in having dietary fiber and natural and unprocessed food is the main prevention of obesity. So, social media can play its vital part in promoting it. The government also should have legislation about TV commercials promoting junk and processed food. There must be a limit on showing commercials about junk food only. Healthy food and its advantages should be highlighted.

3.      Exercise and physical activity

Along with a healthy diet plan, regular exercise will make it easier for e person to lose weight and lead a healthy life. The government should focus on establishing family parks and playgrounds. This will encourage healthy outdoor activities among its population.  

Conclusion

Obesity is such a disease that can never be ignored. Our bright future is in our hands. We must take effective strategies to deal with this complex problem.  The general public, health professional, and government must join hands together to make India a better place because

                                    A healthy nation is a successful nation.

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Aniqa Yaqoob

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