Eleventh October is observed as the world obesity day every year to raise awareness and address issues related to the epidemic of obesity which is rising at an alarming rate world over. This year the theme is ACT NOW TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES LATER.
India has a growing obesity problem with rising middle class income, availability and easy access to processed food and sedentary lifestyle. Today with 20.7% of its females and 18.6% of its male population SUFFERING FROM OBESITY AND OVERWEIGHT, it ranks third in the world only after the US and China in obesity. Obesity as we know is not only about appearance but is responsible for numerous disease including diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, heart disease, liver malfunction, stoke and paralysis, sleep apnea, hormonal imbalance infertility and pregnancy complications and even certain cancers like the breast, uterus and colon. The genetic predisposition of Indians towards abdominal obesity, diabetes and heart diseases puts them at a higher risk for obesity complications. Treating it timely helps cure or control these complications. Thus treating obesity timely, the slogan ACT NOW, is very important for us.
For a rapidly developing economy like ours which is battling with paradoxical issues of under-nutrition and obesity, preventing the conditions are much more cost-effective than treating their complications. Preventing obesity today would require the following:
(1). Public awareness about obesity and its consequences across all age groups especially among growing children and young adults. The awareness and insistence on healthy choices should be addressed at the school level.
(2). Improve the food environment to ensure that healthier food options become more easily available to public. Increase their awareness about unhealthy food choices, their contents and consequences.
(3). Improve the layout of local living spaces and public places like gardens etc making them support physical activities.
(4). A healthy lifestyle should be marketed, advocated and endorsed by public figures to raise public awareness.
When unable to prevent obesity, its timely treatment becomes essential. So in order to follow this year’s theme of ACT NOW we would require to do the following:
(1). Recognize that obesity is a disease and not just a cosmetic issue. In fact it happens to be the root cause of numerous diseases.
(2). Educate the public about the treatment options available, like conservative means through lifestyle modifications and surgical therapy.
(3). Dedicated centers with multidisciplinary teams to treat people affected with obesity.
(4). Comprehensive follow up services for people on weight loss regime and those who have lost the excess weight to help them maintain the weight loss.
(5). Insurance coverage for obesity treatments. A few companies in India and the CGHS now recognize obesity as a disease and have started covering it in our country but a lot needs to be done.
Obesity is measured by body mass index (BMI). World over, a BMI of over 25kg/m2 is considered overweight but the ministry for health and family welfare along with the Indian Council for Medical Research has lowered it for Indians to 23kg/m2 considering our predisposition to obesity and its complications. As we are a more vulnerable population the theme of the world obesity day to ACT NOW is a warning bell for us. Healthier choices are available, we need to be wiser. For the treatment part we have numerous qualified professionals for diet and exercise training to help us. India is considered one of the best destination for weight loss surgery with accredited and standardized dedicated centers for obesity surgery here and we have numerous patients coming from all over the world for it. Let us then decide to ACT NOW, prevent it or treat it but get rid of it timely before its too late. Let us all for once be on time….
Content Source: http://asianbariatrics.blogspot.in/2017/10/world-obesity-day.html
Dr Sanjay Patolia is one of the most experienced and eminent obesity surgeon of India – the recipient of Surgeon of Excellence Award from SRC USA. He is also the co-founder and promoter of Asian Bariatrics, Asia’s largest dedicated center for Bariatrics & Metabolic Surgery.