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  • Why Has Obesity Become An Epidemic In India?

Why Has Obesity Become An Epidemic In India?

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Obesity in India is a growing problem.Out of the two billion children and adults that suffer from obesity and overweightness worldwide, 14.4 million children are from India alone. As per a report submitted by the National Family Health Survey for the year 2015-16, the percentage of women in India suffering from obesity has risen by 60% in a decade.

The above-mentioned facts suggest that instances of obesity are increasing at an alarming rate, and that strong measures have to be taken before things get out of hand. For this, we first need to understand the basics of obesity.

Obesity is Not Overweightness

People all around generally believe that obesity is just people being fat. But this statement is as far from the truth as is possible. Obesity definitely refers to body mass but it does not just outline an increase in body weight. A serious and persistent health disorder, obesity can have detrimental effects on your body.

Obesity, unlike an increase in your body weight,is essentially an excessive increase in your body fat. Therefore, it is not overweightness, for your total body is the constitution of a lot of factors including muscles, fats, water and bones.

Another way to differentiate between overweight and obese people is through BMI or Body Mass Index. BMI is the statistical measurement of a person’s height and body weight. The BMI of a normal individual is usually somewhere between 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, but an overweight person has BMI ranging around 25 kg/m2 or more. An obese person,on the other hand, is one with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more.

Metabolic syndrome, high levels of cholesterol, excessive blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are some of the drastic effects that obesity can have on a human being.

Causes/Risk Factors

Maintaining a balance between the calories you consume and the energy you expend is important in determining what your body weight is going to be. When you begin consuming more calories than your body can burn, you gain weight. What’s actually happening is that your body storing the excess energy in the form of fat, which in turn adds to your weight.On the contrary, when you eat fewer calories than your body metabolizes, you stand to lose body weight.

When you think of what the causes behind obesity might be, overeating and less activity are the first things that may have come to your mind. Well you are not wrong about it either. However, as per some of the best obesity doctors in Delhi, there are various risk factors that can lead to obesity. Standard among these factors are –

Unhealthy Diet: It is not simply over consumption but also the consumption of unhealthy diet that leads to an abnormal increase in body weight. When it comes to unhealthy food items,doctors for obesity in Delhi have time and again pointed it out that the foods that have high contents of sugar, fats and oils include fried food, sweets, fast food items etc. Even small portions of such food items contain high amounts of calories.

Eating these too frequently or in large quantities does excessive harm and negligible good to your body.

Sedentary Lifestyle: Activity helps burn calories; hence, people who have a sedentary lifestyle tend to be fatter than people with an active life. The causes behind an inactive life can either be a choice or a lifestyle people are compelled to follow (type of work, such as desk-bound jobs).

Social and Economic Factors: Healthy food items generally are a little costlier than fast or unhealthy food items. Therefore, people with low incomes and more mouths to feed are often not able to afford them. Again people who live in areas that do not have safe surroundings for playing or exercising are also at risk of suffering from obesity.

Genetics: People who have one or both parents suffering from obesity are more likely to be suffering from obesity themselves. As per some doctors genetics affect fat regulating hormones such as leptin. Leptin is the hormone responsible for signalling the brain that you are full and should not eat anymore. Leptin is produced in the placenta and the fat cells and reduced production of leptin will also lead to loss of this control.

Psychological Factors: Observations by the top obesity doctors in Delhi, including reports, suggest that people respond to various emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, boredom etc. differently. When facing stress or mood swings many people tend to eat more. Gradually this becomes a habit and every time they feel bad, they take to eating.

Your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol when you feel stressed which in return initiates the release of fatty acids and relocates fat cells to your abdomen. People are also known to make poor dietary choices when they are sad or depressed.

Medications: A fact assessed by a number of reputed obesity clinics in Delhi, consumption of certain types of medicines can also cause weight gain in people by increasing their appetite. Among these medications are anticonvulsants, antidepressants, valproate, and medicines for diabetes, corticosteroids and contraceptives.

That is why many obesity doctors in Delhi, including our experts at Intelligent Ageing, suggest that you consult a good physician before taking any of these medicines and also discuss the side-effects well.

Other Health Issues: While some medical conditions such as insulin resistance, hypothyroidism and so on have direct relation to obesity, there are other health issues that even though not directly related to it, lead to it. One such disease is arthritis that limits free movement in people. Obesity is also one of the abnormalities caused by ailments such as Cushing’s syndrome, Cohen’s syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.

Complications related to obesity

The thing that makes obesity an even bigger problem is the kindof effect it can have on a person’s well-being. A gain in body fat exerts a lot of strain on the internal organs,along with the bones. But the problems do not stop here.

As per obesity specialists in Delhi and other prominent metros, obesity, if not controlled in time, can lead to various complications, included among which are: –

Insulin resistance– Secreted by the pancreas, insulin is a hormone responsible for the regulation of glucose concentration in the blood. Once a person has consumed a meal, the secretion of insulin in the body intensifies the uptake of glucose in the muscles and fat, and decreases its production by the liver to achieve a balance between the levels of glucose.

However, in cases associated to chronic overconsumption, the responsiveness of your body towards glucose weakens, eventually creating a state that is described as insulin resistance.

Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes– Your chances of suffering from type 2 diabetes increases with increase in the duration and degree of your diabetes.Obesity is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance is the cause.

The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with the degree and duration of obesity. Type 2 diabetes is associated with central obesity; a person with central obesity has excess fat around his/her waist (apple-shaped figure).

High blood pressure (hypertension)– Hypertension occurs when the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries gets elevated. Obese individuals have increased fatty tissues in their body which also increases vascular resistance. Hence, their hearts are forced to work extra to pump blood to different parts of the body.

High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)– Obese people are more at a risk of facing an increase in their cholesterol levels. However, it is not just the increasing levels that is the issue here, but the type of cholesterol.

In the bodies of obese people, the levels of triglycerides, also known as “bad” cholesterol, is higher than HDL or good cholesterol levels. Such people are also at a great risk of experiencing heart ailments such as stroke or heart attack.

Gallstones– Rock like masses developing in the gall bladder, gallstones can pose great troubles to those suffering from it. These stones or gallstones are actually deposits of cholesterol. So, the higher the level of cholesterol in your bile, the higher will be your chances of suffering from gallstones.

What can be done?

As per our expert doctors at Intelligent Ageing, one of the best obesity clinics in Delhi, there are various methods of obesity treatment. The first step is to try and find out their Body Mass Index. Often at times, patients work with a team of healthcare professionals, includingdietician and therapists for their obesity treatment.

Changes in diet and lifestyle are another important prerequisite for the success of any healthcare measure, as per our obesity specialists in Delhi. Although some people choose to take heavy medications or go under the knife for their obesity treatment, there are better and safer ways for the same to be achieved.

Intelligent Ageing is a customer-focused health initiative that takes a system-oriented healthcare approach for obesity treatment. Aided by some of the best obesity doctors in Delhi, we focus on the root cause of the ailment and genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors of the individuals.

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