The study shows that 61% of people are not aware of their BMI.

Addressing the obesity epidemic in India requires a multifaceted approach. Lifestyle modifications, nutritional education, and holistic healthcare strategies are paramount

Obesity in India is on the rise, presenting a multifaceted challenge influenced by various factors. Dr. Vinodha Reddy K, Head of the Department for Gastrointestinal and Bariatric Surgery, Aster Whitefield Hospital, sheds light on the unknown contributors to this epidemic. Additionally, Dr. Mahesh D M, Consultant in Endocrinology, Aster CMI Hospital, emphasizes the concept of “metabesity” and its profound implications on health.

  1. The Urban Sedentary Lifestyle:Urbanization and desk jobs contribute significantly to a sedentary lifestyle in India. Driven by convenient transport options and increased screen time, the population is increasingly leading a more inactive life. The surge in home deliveries and the availability of binge-worthy TV shows have made it easier for individuals to succumb to a sedentary routine.
  2. Processed Foods and Empty Calories:Processed foods, laden with unhealthy additives, play a pivotal role in the overconsumption of empty calories. Dr. Reddy points out that these additives trick our taste buds into craving more than necessary, contributing to the obesity epidemic.
  3. Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns:The lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue, limiting outdoor activities and promoting sedentary behaviors. This period saw a surge in obesity cases due to restricted movement and disrupted routines.
  4. Hormonal Imbalances and Chronic Diseases:Conditions like PCOD and thyroid disorders can disrupt gut microbiota, affecting metabolism and contributing to weight gain. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, further complicates the health landscape, adding to the challenges in managing obesity.
  5. Childhood Obesity:Childhood obesity is alarmingly increasing, influenced by factors like maternal undernutrition, placental insufficiency, and shifts in dietary habits due to globalization. Dr. Reddy emphasizes that tackling childhood obesity requires a comprehensive approach starting from pre-conception, continuing through pregnancy, infancy, and childhood.
  6. Fast Food Culture and High-Stress Levels:The fast food culture, coupled with high-stress levels, compounds the obesity problem. Dr. Reddy also raises concerns about the potential contribution of pesticides and insecticides in food to metabolic disruptions and weight gain.
  7. Metabesity and Its Implications:Dr. Mahesh D M introduces the concept of metabesity, which encompasses metabolic aberrations associated with obesity. This includes low-grade inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and changes in gut microbiome. Metabesity is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and even cancer.
  8. Unknown Factors Contributing to Obesity:Beyond the known factors like genetics, diet, and physical activity, Dr. Reddy highlights the role of the gut microbiome. Certain gut bacteria, particularly the Firmicutes phylum, are implicated in increased fat storage and low-grade inflammation. Epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors influence gene expression, is also considered a potential factor in obesity.

Addressing the obesity epidemic in India requires a multifaceted approach. Lifestyle modifications, nutritional education, and holistic healthcare strategies are paramount. Early interventions, particularly during childhood, are crucial to prevent the onset and progression of obesity and its associated metabolic complications. The insights provided by Dr. Reddy and Dr. Mahesh highlight the urgency of a comprehensive strategy to combat obesity and its related health challenges in the Indian population.