India on the verge of ‘Fat Explosion’

fatNew Delhi. Contrary to the general view that India is a country of malnourished and underweight people, it is now on the cusp of a “fat explosion” with about 15 per cent of its population (20 crores) being obese and vulnerable to diabetes and a host of other serious health problems.““India has the dubious distinction of being “the world capital of diabetes” largely due to spiralling obesity problems, experts said today. It has eight crore diabetics and is No. 3 in obesity after the US and China. One in three adults now overweight or obese in India.““In view of lifestyle disorders like blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular ailments and osteoarthritis triggered by excess body weight and bulging stomachs, a health conference was organised at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi in which a number of medical experts discussed the various aspects of obesity, its effects and latest treatment modalities.““The conference was organised by Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in association with South Delhi Medical Association and Association of Surgeons of India (ASI).““Dr. Arun Prasad, senior bariatric and metabolic surgeon atIndraprastha Apollo Hospital and vice-president of the Obesity Surgery Society of India (OSSI) who played a key role in organising the conference, performed two liverobotic bariatric surgeries during the event.““

Dr. Jayashree Todkar, joint secretary of OSSI and a bariatric surgeon from Mumbai, talked about the role of surgery in treating obesity, diabetes and other medical problems. Ill-effects of obesity in relation to heart, blood pressure, diabetes and liver, besides sleep apnea, joints problem, polycystic ovary disease and infertility, were also discussed.““The experts pointed out that increased weight carries significant health risks for some cancers, diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases and strokes. Also, obesity among children and adolescents is rising rapidly. Hence, intervention programmes, with emphasis on improving knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding healthy nutrition, physical activity and stress management, need to be implemented.““Dr. Prasad suggested that bariatric surgery, liposuction or body contouring should be performed as a last resort for treating obesity. “Diet control, exercise and lifestyle changes should be the first options. Weight loss surgery should be performed after these options fail to control obesity,” he said, adding: “The malady in 50 per cent obese people can be treated with help of controlled diets and exercise. Around 12,000 weight loss surgeries were performed in India last year but there is a need of about 50,000 surgeries every year in the country, he observed. “In our county, about 15 per cent of the population (20 million) is overweight and surgery should be the last resort for these obese people,” said Dr. Prasad.

Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

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