Lets fight with the global epidemic, Obesity  

New Delhi, November 26, 2018:

Obesity is a condition which occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity. Obesity can increase the risk of diseases and other health problems like cardiac disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. According to World Obesity Federation, a community of organizations dedicated to solving the problem of obesity shows that the percentage of Indian adults living with obesity is set to jump to around 5% by 2025, from 3.7% in 2014. The highest proportion of obese children and young adults were found in the U.S at nearly 13%. Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%.

According to WHO (2018 data), Key facts about Obesity: 

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.


The diagnosis of obesity is usually based on a physical examination and a patient history. A measurement called the body mass index (BMI) is used to assess the health risk associated with being overweight or obese. A BMI of 18.5 to 22.9 for asian adults and 18.5 to 24.9 for Americans is considered within the healthy range. However, this classification does not apply to people younger than 18 years of age, pregnant women, or breast-feeding women. For people 65 years and older, the normal range is higher, beginning slightly above 18.5 and extending into the overweight range.



  • Genetics- Genes play an important role in deciding the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed. It also helps the body to convert food into energy and decides how your body burns calories during exercise.
  • Lifestyle- Sedentary lifestyle leads to rapid increase in the weight. Inactivity results in weight gain which can lead to medical problems, such as arthritis, cardiac issues, liver problems, blood pressure etc. If one or both of the parents are obese then one is also at the risk of being obese.
  • Unhealthy diet- A diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, and laden with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions contributes to weight gain.
  • Age- Obesity can occur at any age, even in young children. But as you age, hormonal changes and inactive lifestyle leads to obesity. In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. If one don’t consciously control what to eat and become more physically active with age, one is likely to gain weight.
  • Medical problems and certain medications- In some people, obesity can be traced to a medical cause. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity.
  • Pregnancy- During pregnancy, a woman’s weight necessarily increases. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
  • Lack of sleep- Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause changes in hormones that increase the appetite. This may also lead to craving for foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates, which eventually contribute to weight gain.


 Obese people are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breathing disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic  problems
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Nerve Disorder eg: varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis
  • High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol


  • Exercise regularly- Moderate-intensity activity a week helps to prevent weight gain. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking, swimming, cycling etc.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan- Try to have three regular meals a day. Some people experience strong food cravings or addiction. This especially applies to sugar-sweetened, high-fat junk foods. Try to opt for healthier option. Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit sweets and alcohol and avoid saturated fat.
  • Stay Hydrated- Water can be really helpful for weight loss as it boost metabolic rate. It helps to burn more calories and may even suppress the appetite if consumed before meals. Water of cucumber, lemon, ginger and mint can help to lose weight and belly fat.
  • Be consistent. Sticking to your healthy-weight plan as much as possible increases the chances of long-term success.


  1. Green TeaGreen tea is an excellent source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that promotes fat burning and the loss of belly fat.
  1. Whey Protein: A whey protein shake is a quick meal or snack option that promotes fat loss and may help improve your body composition.
  1. Berries: Berries are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that will help burn fat and prevent it from forming as well as boost your workout benefits by improving blood flow to your muscles.
  1. Nuts: Nuts are high in antioxidants, protein, fibre and healthy fats, and they significantly improve body composition.
  1. Curd or yogurt: Full-fat curd is extremely nutritious. Full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, which seems to promote weight loss and fat burning in overweight and obese people.
  1. Pluses: They contain a great amount of amino acids and are low in calorie and fat. Because of its high water content as well, fat will be easier to lose.
  1. Oats: Oats contain insoluble fiber and carbohydrates which help curb your appetite. Having the flavourless oats is best when it comes to fat loss. 
  1. Eggs: Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. It helps reduce hunger, increase fullness, boost fat burning and protect heart health.
  1. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that may promote fat loss. To boost fat loss and protect heart health, include a minimum of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week.

(Author: Ms. Shruti Sharma, Bariatric Counsellor and Nutritionist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida)

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