Hyderabad: While everybody is concerned about being overweight and obese, there are many who are skinny but are still metabolically obese and at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia. Being skinny with the perfect Body Mass Index creates the wrong impression that one is healthy. Visceral fat in the abdominal organs is the culprit as it accumulates in this region and causes abdominal obesity. Dr Tapas Mishra, senior consultant and bariatric surgeon at Apollo Hospitals explained, “Visceral fat is more dangerous as it tends to accumulate near the various organs. In Indians, we find that people have perfect body mass index but too much of visceral fat. This is because they actually lack muscle in the body due to their food habits. This makes them prone to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.”
The diet of Indians has less protein and a huge bulk of carbohydrates. Dr Abhay Agarwal, senior bariatric surgeon, says not only vegetarian Indians but also non-vegetarians don’t take adequate amount of proteins. “To add to this, their lifestyle is sedentary. They sit at their work places, while watching television, and also while relaxing. This increases the intra-abdominal fat which is the tendency of most people in India.”
The skinny-fat are often unaware that it is abdominal obesity which can cause health issues. Nutritionist Usha Sree says, “Those who are skinny are often taken by surprise when they suffer from knee pain. They can’t come to terms with it. But the reason is that it is a metabolic disorder where the fat is accumulating in the abdomen region and that causes stress on the knee. They have to work hard to reduce abdominal obesity and that is quite a tough task for many.”
A quick way to check if you are abdominally obese is to measure your waist size. Men with waists that measure more than 35 inches and women with waists that measure more than 30 inches are considered to be abdominally obese according to Dr Tapas Mishra.