World Obesity Day: Why we need to control obesity

Studies predict that India will be the global diabetes capital by 2050 if obesity and metabolic syndrome are not arrested.

control obesityStudies predict that India will be the global diabetes capital by 2050 if the abdominal and lower limb obesity and metabolic syndrome are not arrested. Alarmed by reports, the Health Ministry of India has reduced the cut-off for body mass index (BMI) to 23 kg/m2 to fight the battle against obesity. If your BMI is over 23 kg/m2, then you are considered overweight. The global standard for this is a BMI of 25 kg/m2. So, someone considered healthy by most international standards, might be overweight in India! BMI is the ratio of the body weight in kg versus height in m2.

The guidelines were released jointly by the Health Ministry, the Diabetes Foundation of India, the All-India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research, the National Institute of Nutrition and 20 other health organisations - Those with BMI of 25 kg/m2 will be clinically termed obese (as opposed to 30 kg/m2 at the international level) and those with BMI of 32.5 kg/m2 will require bariatric surgery to eliminate excess flab.

Along with the BMI guidelines, they have also released guidelines cut-offs for waist measurement at 90 cm for Indian men (as opposed to 102 cm globally) and 80 cm for Indian women (as opposed to 88 cm at the international level). (Read: Fighting obesity and helping people lose weight online)

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'The Indian body composition puts them in high risk for diabetes and hypertension. The guidelines with revised statistics will benefit the additional 15-20 per cent (60-80 million) of the Indian population who can now be clinically termed obese under the revised measurements,' Anoop Mishra, director and head, department of diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospitals, New Delhi and Noida, said releasing the guidelines.

The study says one in every three Indians has high triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels and 30-70 per cent has low levels of HDL (good cholesterol). For every 10 extra kilograms above the stipulated body weight (measured according to height), life expectancy of a person reduces by three years - the report said.

By the new obesity guidelines, every second person in Delhi fulfills the criteria of obesity or has excess abdominal fat and nearly one-fourth of the adolescent population in the capital has Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome, that heralds the onset of heart diseases and diabetes. So, what are planning to do, to avoid obesity? Here are some ways:

How to control over-eating

Are you tired of your binge eating habit? Do you find yourself giving into temptation to gorge down delicious food and before you can control it's too late and the damage of consuming excessive calories is already don?. Why do we find ourselves making the same mistake over and over again and how can you salvage the situation and control overeating in future? (Read: Mega guide to curb obesity)

The need to obsessively over eat is mostly triggered by emotional factors. Either you are too sad, too happy, too tired or simply bored when you get this intense urge to eat. Some studies even blame our ancestors for our compulsive binging behaviour. According to them, our primal ancestors were hunters and gatherers and went without food for long periods, so once they found it they would eat everything they could get their hands on. The latest research suggests that starving leads to overeating and is also responsible forslowing down of metabolism. This leads to storing of food in our bellies which is linked to heart diseases and acquiring diabetes type 2.

A binging outburst can set you back to a minimum of 1000 calories per meal and above your daily calorie intake. This means that you could be potentially adding up to 1 kg each time you have 2 bags of chips while just chilling in front of the TV!

Knowing your triggers can help you minimize the damage. The logic behind cravings for high carb or sugar foods is that as they spike insulin levels in the body and release endorphins, also known as the pleasure hormone. This is the actual trigger that causes us to binge over and over again. There is a healthier alternative to this addiction. There are studies that have proved that exercise can also trigger the same happy hormone. Besides the fact exercise is great for health and helps keeping the lifestyle related disorders at bay.

The biggest downside to seeking solace in high sugar/carb food for emotional need is that over a period of time your body develops a natural resistance towards them. So your body craves more quantities to get the same desired effect. For eg. if one slice of cake was enough to make you feel good before with time you will need atleast two slices to trigger the same feeling. Its a tricky situation to get dependent to relieve stress or solve any other emotional conditions. Eventually its a mind over matter game. If you can understand your action you can control your behaviour in time and prevent causing damage to your health.

Here is a healthy meal plan for the obese:


2 onion uttapam, 1 cup low-fat curd, 1 fruit OR 1.5 cup vegetable dalia, 1 glass lemon water.


1 cup carrot and onion salad, 2 rotis, 1.5 cup aloo nutri curry, half cup curd OR salad, 1.5 cup steamed rice, 1.5 cup sambar, half cup buttermilk.


1 cup clear tomato soup, 2 rotis, 1 cup carrot-peas, hald cup yellow dal OR 1 cup tomato-cucumber salad, 2 rotis, 1 cup paneer curry.

Prachi Agarwal is the CEO and co-founder of the company Fitho an online weight loss diet plan service company and the author of 'Losing It: Make Weight Loss Simple.' If you want to check out Fitho's diet plan, check out their website.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.

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