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Manish (name changed) aged only 30 was rushed to Columbia Asia Hospital with uneasiness and breathlessness. He was morbidly obese, weighing around 170 kgs and took almost 70 units of insulin every day. He was also suffering from hypertension. At the young age, his heart was functioning at a rate below normal and his diabetes and hypertension were uncontrolled despite medication.

After evaluation and counseling, he underwent bariatric surgery at the hospital;his weight is gradually coming down. His comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnoea are all now under better control and doctors have assured him that over time when his weight is optimum, these conditions will definitely improve drastically

Manish is not alone as he was morbidly obese, but more and more people are moving towards morbid obesity if they do not take care of them. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) data, 35 per cent women between the age of 15 and 49 years in urban parts of Pune are either overweight or obese while obesity rate is 41 per cent for men in the same age group. Despite the obesity rates in the city being more than the percentage of overweight or obese men and women in urban India where 31.3 per cent urban women and 26.6 per cent urban men have BMI of 25 or more, the existing rates are 8.9% in women and 12% in men are higher than previous records.

“We receive around 70 patients every month that can be classified as obese. Both children and adults in urban areas are prone to gaining weight due to poor and unhealthy dietary habits, lack of physical activity, and high amount of stress in their daily lives. Affected patients should follow healthy practices, as obesity is a major factor leading to many lifestyle diseases. Obesity increases the person’s susceptibility to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, gout, migraine, among others. Therefore, affected patients should seek medical help, as obesity is a major factor leading to many lifestyle diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.” says Dr. Sushil Kumar Kharat, Consultant-Bariatric surgeon Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune.

As per World Health Organization, obesity is a potential epidemic globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Besides, nearly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight and more than 650 million are obese. The numbers highlight the galloping increase in incidence of obesity where the numbers have nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016.

Obesity in childhood is gaining ground in Urban India, as children are involved in activities such as spending time before the television or playing computer games rather than opting for outdoor sporting and recreational activities.

“In children, obesity increases the risk of several health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early heart disease, diabetes, bone problems, skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne. It can also cause behavioral issues and depression due to ridicule and marginalization by peers.Awareness is needed on how to prevent and manage obesity and also where to seek help. Columbia Asia Hospitals conduct many camps and awareness drives to educate people against obesity and also screen for morbid obesity”, said Dr. Sushil.

Morbid obesity is a complex multi factorial, chronic disease, where weight and symptoms build up slowly over time. Obesity becomes “ Morbid” when it reaches the point where it has an adverse effect on health, particularly causing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis. Class II and class III obesity is considered morbid obesity.

As a non-communicable disease, obesity can be prevented or managed by taking the following measures on time.

· Choose the right diet and monitor calories intake.The metabolic disorder results from the lack of balance between calories consumed and calories spent. Consuming high calories food without required amount of physical activity increases the energy imbalance in the body and leads to weight gain.

· Get mobile. Indulging in more physical activity, such as walking or jogging daily is an important step to control the growing waistline.

· Go green in food too. One should include more green vegetables and fresh fruits in the diet to reduce the intake of energy-dense food.

· Make fitness and healthy diet a style statement.The role of supportive environments and communities is very important as it shapes people’s choices that eventually prevent obesity. Making fitness and healthy diet a matter of style helps create peer pressure on others to follow a healthy lifestyle. However, one should be cautious as being fit is not about being thin or anorexic.


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