BENGALURU: Once considered an epidemic of developed countries, obesity has today reached unforeseen proportions in India. According to recent reports, obesity has been observed to be on a rise in India, particularly among women and children. Excessive weight puts pressure on the organs to work overtime and makes one feel tired, contributes to breathlessness,joint pains and digestion/gastric issues in daily life. Beyond hampering day-to-day function, obesity can lead to more dangerous long-term health consequences such as diabetes, stroke, COPD, sleep apnoea, infertility, cancer and other disruptive life disorders. Obesity takes away a person’s ability to be free and mobile and makes doing simple things like walking to a nearby store or climbing the stair seem like a chore.
In order to be classified as obese, a person’s BMI must be greater than 30. When your weight interferes with your ability to perform simple physical activities, there is a high chance that you fall into the obese bracket. It is a common misconception that obese people struggle with weight issues simply because they are not putting in enough effort to lose weight. On the other hand, we must also accept that
socio-cultural and lifestyle changes across the world have made it more difficult for a person to maintain a healthy weight.
Tackling obesity therefore must become a joint effort, with the support of doctors, family and society at large. This World Obesity Day, here are some guidelines for those dealing excessive weight:
nEncourage healthy eating with your family
Junk food outlets are springing up around every corner and kids today are eating more junk than ever before. Parents also tend to binge on salty or sugary, fried and oily foods more than before because they are easily accessible and soothe hunger pangs during fast-paced days. Making healthy eating a group activity with your kids is a wonderful way to set-up the family for a long life of good health.
n Keep blood sugar in check
Ensuring that your blood sugar levels are stable with regular check-ups is a good way to avoid developing insulin resistance resulting in Type 2 diabetes, a commonly observed co-morbidity of obesity. It is also advisable to get regular health checkups where the nutritional status of the body is checked.
n Maintain a food diary
It is easier to keep track of your food consumption when it is recorded somewhere. There are many apps available today that help make a note of the food one eats throughout the day, with reminders and motivational messages to eat healthy. Get a partner or seek external help to aid you in your journey to eat more consciously. The diary will also help your nutritionist guide you on balancing out your food choices.
nGet on the exercise bandwagon
Exercise must be turned into a fun-filled session that everyone looks forward to. An activity such as zumba, water sports, adventure sports and outdoor treks help you keep your body active and your metabolism high, without making it seem like a chore. Above all, it is a great way to socialize and experience new things, which have immense psycho-social health benefits by itself.
nConsider a bariatric consult
In severe cases, doctors may recommend bariatric surgery to help obese patients reduce weight. Many people have reported incredible results with studies showing that a bariatric procedure could even help reverse Type 2 diabetes. The ideal candidate for the procedure is morbidly obese (BMI greater than 35-40), has been struggling with weight loss for many years and suffers from one or more co-morbidities of obesity.
While the urban lifestyle has influenced the increase of an overweight population, this trend is not restricted to just urban India and obesity has started to make its way into rural India as well. It is crucial we examine this rising epidemic from a holistic standpoint to ensure we overcome it in the best way possible. Although shedding those extra pounds seems like a
unattainable task, with the right guidance and support, it is possible to get there!
The author is the chief
surgeon and senior
consultant, GI and Bariatric Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital