Obesity has nearly doubled among men and women in Madhya Pradesh during the past one decade, says the latest National Family Health Survey.
The figures show that the state has more obese women than men with urban areas showing greater numbers than their rural counterparts.
Health experts attribute this to people’s sedentary life-style and erratic eating habits in the urban.
Obese men increase from 4.3% to 10.9% and women from 7.6% to 13.6%
The survey says the percentage of obese men in the last decade has increased from 4.3% to 10.9 % and from 7.6% to 13.6 % in women, as per data comparison between the NFHS-4 and NFHS-3.
In the survey, those men and women have been tagged obese whose body mass index (BMI) is either equal or over 25. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height. It is expressed in units of kilogramme per square metre.
Major contribution to obesity figures coming from urban areas
The data analysis from NFHS-4 shows that a major contribution to the obesity figures was coming from the urban areas. While the percentage of obese men is 17.6 % in the state’s urban areas, it is just 7.8 % in rural ones, the survey says. Similarly, the percentage of obese urban women is 23.8 % and rural ones is 9.1 %.
Medical experts attribute the increase in obesity to a multitude of factors.
“There is general surge in consumption habits, especially in the cities. Unfortunately, people in cities are exercising less than their rural counterparts. Increased intake of fast food is also a major reason,” said clinical nutritionist Sonali Malhotra, who worked in UK for a decade before returning to Bhopal.
“But the main problem is that people want shortcuts even in weight control. They are not consistent with diet control or exercises. And this generally backfires,” she said.
Another health expert Geetanjali Sharma from Bansal Hospital said, “I think going to gym is more of a fashion these days. If women really want to lose weight, they should do household chores themselves. They should cut down on kitty parties and learn from rural women, who remain active throughout the day.”
Sharma said the survey corroborated her clinical observations. She said obesity should be checked in time or it would have more people getting lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac malfunction and so on.
But there are others who have a different take on this trend. “This also shows a changing consumption pattern in the state under packed food firms. After saturating the cities, the companies are now trying to enter the rural areas. This will be our major challenge in future, ” said Sachin Jain, a right to food activist and director Vikas Samvad, an NGO which works in the health sector .