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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs