Obesity, has become an increasingly prevalent disorder even in developing nations like India, which was previously more prevalent in developed nations. With prevalence of more than 60 crore adults and around 4.2 crore children below age of 5, obesity has truly become a global menace the humanity needs to fight against in unison.
In the era of globalization, due to the exchange of ideas, people and cultures, people from even developing nations have become exposed to new varieties of foods rich in fats and carbohydrates. Also, enhanced income levels in tandem with rise in consumerism and promotion of a particular lifestyle as an aspirational one by mass media led to increased adoption of western diet and food habits which is also one of the reason for the rapid rise in obesity in urban areas particularly in children from higher socioeconomic background. Genetic predisposition also plays a role in people becoming prone to obesity.
However, adoption of western diet was a cherry picked one because consumption of raw vegetables and fruits which is widespread in west that could compensate diet rich in fats and carbohydrates, is often missing. Rapid rise in obesity is seen in all population subgroups in developing nations as well as developed ones, which is a dangerous trend that needs to be tackled by policymakers of health.
Obesity is a risk factor to many serious diseases like atherosclerosis ( blockage of blood vessels) that could lead to myocardial infarction ( heart stroke) and stroke that could lead to paralysis of limbs. Obesity has led to an increase in prevalence and led to early age of onset of such grave disorders.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 has increased association with obesity than genetic predisposition. Diabetes, which could lead to multitude of disorders and enhances morbidity along with mortality, could be controlled by effectively tackling rise in obesity. Hypertension ( rise in blood pressure) is increasingly associated with the presence of obesity. Osteoarthritis ( knee pain) is more prevalent in obese individuals. Snoring and Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where a person stops breathing for very short time while sleeping, are also increased due to obesity.
Obesity decreases the life expectancy in an individual and individuals within a normal range of BMI are proven to be leading more healthier lives with better quality.
However, dietary modifications and exercise can’t be replaced by medications or surgeries. They are the essential component of any weight reduction regimen. Importance of lifestyle modification should be disseminated by governments through mass media actively and non-governmental organizations should support those efforts actively.
“PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE” is an apt saying for the management of obesity. Better diet and lifestyle practiced from childhood go a long way in making people healthier, happier and efficient.