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Delhi, Punjab top woman obesity list

india Updated: Oct 22, 2007 02:07 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Punjab and Delhi, which are among states with the lowest sex ratio, have the highest number of obese women in India, reveals a new government report.

“Women in India, 2007”, compiled by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCD), say that 34 per cent of women in Delhi and 37.5 per cent in Punjab are obese — the highest for any state in India. These figures are based on a study on International Institute of Population Studies in 2006.

The sex ratio in Delhi in 2001 was 865 for 1,000 boys and 820 in Punjab. But, according to the Women and Child Development Ministry, it is an indication that if the girl is born, the families normally take good care of them, even though it may not be as good as boys.

Besides these two states, only Kerala has more than 30 per cent obese women. “The figures are a clear indication that health of women is better in healthier states,” said an official.

The contrast in the health of Indian women shows up when female obesity in these three states is compared with the national average of 14 per cent or that of poorer states like Bihar (5.3 per cent), Jharkhand (5.6 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (8.6 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (6.7).

While in states like Delhi and Punjab only about 11 per cent women are malnourished, the figure is as high as 43 per cent in Bihar, 42 per cent in Jharkhand and 40 per cent in Orissa. How healthy are Delhi and Punjab women can be gauged from the fact that only Sikkim had better figures.

NIPCD also raised question mark over the government-run public distribution system, which provides food at subsidised rates to the poor, but has failed to deliver.

The data also gives an insight in the preference of children among Indian women. About 38 per cent having two girls want another child, while only 17 per cent with two boys want another child. For women with a son and a daughter, the figure is as low as 11 per cent.