Bengaluru: Obesity is likely to be the next major health challenge in India if some alarming figures trotted out by the country’s most comprehensive health survey are any indicator. Obesity is calculated by body mass index or BMI, which is a person’s weight in kilograms, over height squared in centimetres. The National Family Health Survey 4, conducted during 2015-16, the latest in the series, has some worrisome figures.
One-fifth of Indian women, or 20.7 per cent to be precise, in the age group of 15-49 are overweight. As for urban women, 31.3 percent or almost a third are obese, while 15 per cent of rural women are overweight. What is shocking is that the overall obesity figure of 20.7 for women is a quantum jump from 12.6 from 2005-06 when the last NFHS was conducted. It is nearly a 60% jump.
As for men, the figures are even starker. Obesity has exactly doubled among men over the last 10 years. As much as 18.6 per cent of all men are obese, up from 9.3 in 2005-06. The urban-rural divide is similar to women here, with 26.3 per cent men in urban areas and 14.3 in rural areas being obese.
“Obesity is caused by our sedentary lifestyles,” says Dr Vinay Sridhar, a practicing general physician.
“The fact that we spend most of our time in front of TV and computer has led us to exercise less which directly contributes to obesity.” Tension and irregular work hours too contribute to obesity. “Work tension, irregular eating habits and spending long hours in chairs leads to obesity,” says Dr Satish of NMPC hospital. Also, he adds that the most affected profession is the IT industry. “I see a lot of people from the information technology industry suffering from work pressure and following irregular eating habits ending up obese.”