News / Asia

Obesity Silent Killer in India

Multimedia

A new study released by the Registrar General of India indicates that obesity-related diseases have joined malnutrition as leading causes of death.

As India's economy grows, so does the temptation for many people to eat more and do less. Tired and home late? Fatty food is just a phone call away.

Overweight, but eager to get married? Now there's overweightshadi.com, an Indian dating site exclusively for obese people.

In a country where the Global Hunger Index shows that nearly half of all children are malnourished, many of India's well-off citizens are now seeking treatment for obesity.

New Delhi-based business professional Aradhna Tripathi admits she loves to eat. "Eating is the most important thing in any Indian household and how you show your love and gratitude for a person is through the kind of food you serve him," she said. "Indian people are used to eating the kinds of foods cooked at home that are filled with masala and oil. With the kind of sedentary lifestyle we lead, these are the reasons we have obesity increasing. "

India's current National Family Health Survey indicates that more than 20 percent of urban Indians are overweight or obese. And in the northwestern state of Punjab, nearly 40 percent of all women are overweight or obese.

Tripathi says she was inspired to lose weight after contracting gestational diabetes during her recent pregnancy.  Her mother and grandmother are both diabetic.

More and more Indians are signing up for weight loss programs out of fear of disease, says Vandana Luthra, managing director of VLCC, a global slimming agency based in India.  "Earlier it was more of a luxury going to a spa or wellness center, but today it has become a necessity," she said.

New data released by the International Diabetes Federation shows every sixth diabetic in the world is an Indian - earning India the title "the world's diabetes capital." Research over the past decade shows that genetically, Indians store more body fat per kilogram than Europeans. Leading health professionals agree, obesity puts Indians at an even greater risk of getting diabetes.

This risk is now crossing socioeconomic lines, says Dr. Anoop Misra director of diabetes and metabolic disease at New Delhi's Fortis Hospital.  

He says five years ago obesity and diabetes were limited to India's most affluent. But, now poor Indians also are getting fatter. "We thought we'd find all malnutrition, but what we found was the paradox. Many people were thin and undernourished. The other side was many were fat and some of these belonged to the poorest section of this slum. This was a clear contrast, a paradox occurring in the same community. Half people overnourished, half undernourished," he said. He blames the rise in obesity on inexpensive and oily snacks popular in Indian slums, and a lack of preventative education.  

China is not too far behind India. The World Health Organization says China's obesity rates hover at 5 percent, and almost 20 percent in select cities.  But Dr. Misra says China is better equipped to contain the epidemic because it can employ uniform prevention efforts in schools. India has a more heterogeneous mix of government and private schools.  

Despite that, Dr. Misra says he is optimistic that India's obesity epidemic can be curbed. "It is the schools that we have to concentrate upon, it is the children that we have to concentrate upon. And if it a uniform physical activity and discipline dietary instructions are given right to the children I'm sure that it can be curbed," he stated.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs