Bulging at the seams: 1 in 4 poor Indian has a pot belly | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Bulging at the seams: 1 in 4 poor Indian has a pot belly

More than one in four middle-aged Indians on low and middle incomes now have an unhealthy midriff bulge, according to a new study. It also concludes that women are more likely to carry a spare tyre than men.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 18, 2015 17:00 IST
Of the more than 7,000 respondents to the survey, one in three (35%) had a midriff bulge, defined as a waist circumference of more than 90 cm for men and more than 80 cm for women.
Of the more than 7,000 respondents to the survey, one in three (35%) had a midriff bulge, defined as a waist circumference of more than 90 cm for men and more than 80 cm for women. (Shutterstock)

Contrary to popular belief, obesity may no longer be a mark of prosperity in India: It is no longer confined to the rich in India. According to a new research, more than one in four middle-aged Indians on low and middle incomes now have an unhealthy midriff bulge. The study, published in the online journal BMJ Open, showed that women are more likely to carry a spare tyre.

Fuelled, in part, by India’s rapid economic growth in recent years, obesity has trickled down to all levels of society, the researchers said. “Population-based promotion of appropriate lifestyles, with special emphasis on women, is required to counteract prosperity driven obesity before it becomes too entrenched and expensive to uproot,” the study said.

The study was authored by Sudipta Samal and Ambarish Dutta from Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar (Odisha), and Pinaki Panigrahi from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, Omaha, Nebraska, US. The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of more than 7,000 people in 2010 from six Indian states: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.

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The survey, which included measurements of height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure, was part of the international Study on global Ageing and adult health , and involved only those aged 50 and above. Most of the participants either had no paid job or lived on traditional subsistence or unskilled labour.

Analysis of the data showed that in all, 14% of the sample were overweight, while more than one in three (35%) had a midriff bulge, defined as a waist circumference of more than 90 cm for men and more than 80 cm for women. Women were particularly prone to central adiposity, with more than two-thirds of those among the most affluent and almost half of those on low to middling incomes carrying an unhealthy spare tyre.