50% urban women have high BP, 2 out of 3 are overweight | india | Hindustan Times
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50% urban women have high BP, 2 out of 3 are overweight

A three-year study to assess the nutritional status of women in India came up with surprising findings: most urban women eat more than they should.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2009 00:48 IST
Rhythma Kaul

A three-year study to assess the nutritional status of women in India came up with surprising findings: most urban women eat more than they should. Women in Jaipur were the most overweight, with 68 per cent surveyed weighing more than due. Kolkata women had the biggest stomachs, with 82 per cent reporting abdominal obesity.

Two of three women in urban India are overweight, found a three-year study of 4,621 women across India. The study, done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Department of Science and Technology and the Diabetes Foundation of India here on Sunday, studied urban and rural women over 35 years in Kolkata, Kochi, Pondicherry, Jaipur, Ballabgarh (outside Delhi), Gandhigram, Pune, Pondicherry and Jaipur.

Sixty-four per cent women in urban areas and 36 per cent women in rural areas were found to be overweight. Their body mass index (BMI) — the weight of the person in kg divided by their height in metres squared — was greater than 23kg/mxm.
BMI is the best indicator of body fat composition based on height and weight.

Despite overweight, women were found to have micronutrient deficiencies, such as anemia — low levels of oxygen-carrying iron in blood — which was at the highest at 88 per cent in Gandhigram in Gujarat.

“We found that most women had very bad diets. The ratio of good fats and bad fats was imbalanced, resulting in women having several risk factors for non-communicable diseases like heart disease, cancers and stroke,” said Dr Vinita Sharma, adviser, department of science and technology, government of India.

Risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol and tobacco use were common. Almost half the urban women surveyed had hypertension high blood pressure.

Twenty-five per cent urban women had high cholesterol levels as compared to 13 per cent present among the rural population. Ninety-six per cent of urban women and 76 per cent of rural women had at least one cardiovascular risk factor.

“Most studies in India focus on pregnancy-related complications and infections, even though diet and lifestyle-related disorders are rising rapidly in both urban and rural populations,” said Dr Anoop Misra, director, diabetes, obesity and metabolic diseases, DFI.