Sunday, 7 October 2018

Essay on Obesity on the rise in India

Essay on Obesity on the rise in India

Essay on Obesity on the rise in India
Health is primary to all living beings .If you are fit, life looks promising and full of opportunities. On the contrary, if you do not possess good health, the condition takes a toll on your dreams, goals, happiness, motivation. Nobody wants to live life of a dependant. Illness is unavoidable in some cases where genetic factors are involved, but in few cases, it is because of the kind of choices we make. 

Obesity is one such epidemic which is raising alarming problems for people around the world. It is the condition which means having too much body fat .Obesity is addressed as host of illnesses including cardiovascular disease, breathing disorders and diabetes, etc. Rapid urbanization along with rising income and inactive lifestyles are associated with rising levels of obesity in urban India. 

Worldwide scenario: Around two decades ago, on an international platform, focus was on childhood malnutrition. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is dealing with the new pandemic of obesity. The obesity pandemic originated in the US and crossed to Europe and the world's other rich nations before, remarkably, penetrating into the worlds' developing nations like India. 

Obese India: India has become a part of league too. It is leading other developing countries that are currently experiencing an increased obesity epidemic .According to 2013 study; US topped the list worldwide with 13 per cent of the obese people, while China was second with the count of 46 million and India stood third with 30 million. 

As per report from Nutrition Foundation of India, prevalence of obesity varies with socio economic status in urban India. People from upper strata have higher prevalence rates (32.2% among males, 50% . among females ), whereas, middle class people have lesser prevalence (16 2% among males, 30.3% among females) and among the lower socio economic group, it is lesser (7% among males, 27.8% among females) and the poor in urban slums with the lowest (1% among males, 4% among females). This is evident that obesity reigns supreme in the upper strata of urbanized India. There are some factors involved which contribute to the rise of obesity in urban India. 

Etiology of obesity:
There are many factors that influence obesity. Factors like genetic, cultural and metabolic factors. Genetic factors lead to prevalence of obesity commonly seen in families. Cultural factors pertain to availability, composition and preference of the diet .It also significantly contributes to lifestyle, choices changes in the level of physical activity. Urban lifestyle involves socio economic status, sedentary lifestyle, fast foods and traditional diets rich in fats and carbohydrates content. It has been noticed. Because of different lifestyles and affluence, urban India is getting fatter as compared to the rural India. Growth of Corporate culture promotes a lifestyle of youth sitting glued to laptop for long hours in the day and hence reducing physical activity. Food intake is reduced to just what is easily available over the counter. So, they choose fast food, packaged food, aerated drinks, etc. that contributes the maximum in obesity. 

Urban lifestyle changes: 
Urbanization has imposed many changes in behavioral patterns and lifestyle of people. People in urban area are making unhealthy eating patterns. Wrong choices of food replacement of micronutrient rich foods with highly processed poor foods such as high calorie snacks, junk food revolution and food as rewards is an unhealthy choice to make. Apart from that, TV and movie watching, video games, internet gazing are the sedentary pursuits which are disturbing the healthy way of living life. The damaging effects are transmitted through the compartments of subsidized agriculture and multinational companies producing cheap highly refined oils and carbohydrates. Labor-saving mechanized devices, robotic equipment, affordable motorized transport and easy internet access leads to sedentary lifestyle. 

Obesogenic Tution classes are one of the reasons behind obesity among children in urban India. Intense academic competition for admissions to schools and colleges, force children to use their play time for studies. Infrastructural defects like unsafe roads, lack of footpaths, absence of cycling lanes Ieave urban Indians with no choice but to go to offices, workplace, schools, etc. by cars or bikes. This discourages from walking or cycling to school. Erosion of outdoor spaces for exercise and lack of sufficient resources to supervise exercise and balanced diet are all part of urban obesogenic lifestyles. 

As a result of rapid industrialization and urbanization, India is witnessing stark rise in living standards and prevalence of obesity is rising rapidly. This is posing a greater threat to health of urban India. 

Hegemony of fast food industry: 
TV also affects the influence of fast food by heavy marketing colas and other fatty foods. Advertisement tag lines for food and drinks like ‘Dil Mange More’, ‘Thanda matlab’, ‘I’ m lovin it’, sold at nominal rates. This approach is making people slaves of these unhealthy eating choices. 

In urban India, both parents are working. In their over worked and hectic lifestyle , they find it easy to let children order fast foods and hardly find any time to monitor balanced nutrition diet for themselves children. 

It is a known fact that eating out may lead to excessive calorie intake and thus increase risk of obesity. Fast foods are high in calories, fat, saturated and trans-fat, sugar, simple carbohydrates and salt. 

Fast food is linked with higher "body- mass- index" (BMI) and weight gain. It reduces the quality of diet and provides unhealthy choices, raising the risk of obesity. 
Nutrition Education 

New Parents in India have certain misconceptions. An obese child is considered healthy child. They believe that if the child is fat, the fat will shed off with time. Child is fed in excess, in order to keep him ‘healthy’. Unfortunately, many of these children remain obese for the lifetime. Like this, there are enormous misconceptions in our society. We need to break such myths and encourage diet as suggested by doctors. 

In this alarming situation, there is a dire need to educate parents and children on right diet intake and regular exercise. Parents should guide their children on making the right food choices and planning a balanced meal. Social events such as healthy eating joints and balanced nutrition food preparations can be organized to encourage diet changes. Great emphasis should be on a healthy and active lifestyle. It should be focused on creating a nurturing environment that helps people recognize the worth of their health and body. There is a need to establish awareness about the fact that obesity, eating disorders, nutrient deficiencies and size discrimination are all interlinked and need to be addressed in a rational way. Urban India needs to be aware that exercise is not meant for reducing weight but is essential to remain fit. The tasks and eating pattern associated with fitness should always remain on the priority list. 

Ironically, we practice food as rewards; exercise is meted out as a punishment - '100 sit ups' ‘run round the field.’ The day we discipline ourselves to observe exercise as a reward and unhealthy food as punishment ourselves. Obese urban India will become exemplary in the domain of fitness around the world.  

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