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India Ranks Third in Global Obesity Rankings

India is known for many problems, poverty, child hunger, malnutrition, and lack of clean water, but one thing that doesn’t come to mind is obesity. India was recently ranked third by a study published in The Lancet titled, “Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.”

India contains 30 million obese people and more who are overweight. One in five Indians are either overweight or obese. This tables shows India’s rate of obesity in comparison to other South Asian countries:

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Director of the Institute of Minimal Access and Bariatric Surgery at Max Healthcare Institute Dr. Pradeep Chowbey blames urbanization:

If we see the graph of obesity, from 1999 onwards Indians started gaining weight due to urbanisation. There has been gradual economical improvement in our status. The entrance of modern technology and Internet has turned people lazy and stagnant.

Obesity is an issue for many reasons. Primarily, it affects healthy heart function, but it also leads to diabetes and high blood pressure. These are all issues that can lead to a higher rate of morbidity and loss in the quality of life. The increased rate of obesity will only add to the public health sectors burden as it works to tackle other concerns in a country with over a billion people.

The most upsetting thing is that despite the growing problem worldwide, no country has been able to tackle it. In order to alleviate the country from a future of shorter lifespans and untimely deaths, education about nutrition and fitness need to be increased. Lifestyles will only continue to become more sedentary as economic growth and development follow. Add on to that the increased prevalence of fast food options that are unhealthy, and India has to take action to change people’s eating and nutritional habits. The studies authors believe that global leadership is key:

To counter the impending health eff ects on populations, especially in low-income and middle-income countries, urgent global leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene against major determinants such as excessive caloric intake, physical inactivity, and active promotion of food consumption by industry, all of which exacerbate an already problematic obesogenic environment.

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