Tackling obesity through weight loss is a form of harm reduction


“About 5% to 10% weight reduction can delay the onset of diabetes”

New Delhi, February 11, 2019:

Studies indicate that the risk of Type II diabetes rises with increasing body weight. Those who are obese are 3 to 7 times more likely to acquire this condition than those with a normal weight. The risk increases by 20 times in people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 kg/m2. According to statistics, a modest weight loss of even 5% to 10% in six months is enough to delay or prevent the onset of diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.

Losing weight to counter obesity and maintaining the ideal weight are all steps towards harm reduction. The first-ever conference on harm reduction that was held on 30th January 2019, organized by HCFI and IJCP, discussed this and more. It highlighted the need for a balanced diet in maintaining the ideal weight according to one’s body type.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “When we gain weight, we must acquire more strength and when we lose weight, we must lose the strength. This is a fundamental medical principle. If we gain weight and feel week, it is a disease and when we lose weight and gain strength, we are recovering from the disease. One is not supposed to gain more than 5kg of weight after the age of 20 years. Any weight gain after that will only be due to accumulation of fat which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance does not allow food to convert into energy. In the state of insulin resistance, whatever you eat, it is converted into fat. As it is not converted into energy and you feel week. When you reduce insulin resistance by drugs or walking the metabolism becomes normal and whatever you eat gets converted into energy and you start gaining strength.”

Cutting back on calories from sugary drinks – by only one serving per day – can account for nearly two–and–a–half pounds of lost weight over 18 months. The body can self-regulate its intake of solid food. However, the same does not apply for what we drink. The body does not adjust to liquid calories, so over time, it leads to weight gain.

Adding further, Dr Annop Misra Sr Consultant Diabetologist said, “It is not important to achieve an ideal weight. The medical aim is to reduce weight to prevent onset of diabetes in obesity. Any weight reduction is better than no weight reduction. Even 1 kg of weight loss is good for harm reduction.”

Some tips and recommendations.

  • Limit the intake of complex carbohydrates as they tend to increase blood sugar levels and the production of insulin. In those with insulin resistance, this surge can lead to further weight gain. Get your blood glucose levels monitored at regular intervals.
  • Exercise every day. Aim at getting about 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity every day, five times a week.
  • Do not consume refined sugar in any form as this can get absorbed into the blood stream more easily and cause further complications.
  • Reduce stress through activities such as meditation and yoga.

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