Obesity is a medical condition characterized by excessive body fat defined by genetic and environmental factors that are difficult to control when dieting. Obesity increases your risk of developing related conditions such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and sleep apnea, to name a few.


Obesity In India

Obesity is a serious worldwide health epidemic and in India this has also reached epidemic proportions as 5% of the population is said to be affected by morbid obesity. According to an estimate 30 million people in India are obese, a number which is going to double in the next 5 years. We the people of India are getting access to processed unhealthy foods due to our continued integration in global food markets. The average calorific intake has also risen due to economic improvement among middle class and above income households.

Indian genetic makeup is such that we have a predisposition towards accumulating abdominal fat due to a single nucleotide polymorphism that has impact on waist circumference.

A healthy nation will pave way for great productivity and is critical for India’s growth story in the coming decades. Each one of us has our responsibility towards ourselves and the country. Being healthy will be one of the most useful contributions we could make for playing an active role in India’s development.

Obesity Symptoms

Obesity can cause following symptoms on a day to day basis :

  • Breathlessness
  • Increased sweating
  • Snoring
  • Inability to cope with sudden physical activity
  • Feeling very tired every day
  • Back and joint pains
  • Low confidence and self esteem
  • Feeling isolated

Causes Of Obesity

Obesity can result if you are consuming more calories that you can burn with your daily activities. If it happens over a long period of time results in accumulation of unwanted calories which will ultimately lead to weight gain.

Causes of obesity

Common causes of obesity can include :

  • Eating a diet comprising of foods high in unhealthy fats, carbohydrates.
  • Having a predominant sedentary lifestyle.
  • Having less sleep, which can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods.
  • Genetics, which determines how fast or slow you, can burn the food.
  • Getting older, which can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
  • Pregnancy (weight that is gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity)

As per WHO review, factors like insufficient sleep, deviated sleep time patterns, endocrine disruptors (environmental pollutants that interfere with lipid (fat) metabolism) and chronic stress are also contributors to the phenomenon called Obesity.

Certain medical conditions may also cause weight gain. They are as follows :

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a condition that causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones leading to accumulation of weight.
  • Prader-Willi syndrome: A rare condition that an individual is born with which causes excessive hunger which results in more intake of food.
  • Cushing syndrome: A condition caused by having an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in your system that leads to weight gain over a period of time.
  • Hypothyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.

How Obesity Is Measured

Obesity can be measured by various techniques, but the most common methods being used are Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference.

Body Mass Index

BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by height in square meter (BMI = kg/m2). It is important to understand what a “healthy weight” is. Healthy weight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 19 and less than 25 among people above 20 years of age.

The World Health Organization uses a classification system using the BMI to define overweight and obesity.

BMIClassificationRisk Factor
Less than 18.5UnderweightIncreased
18.5 to 24.9Normal weightLeast
25.0 to 29.9OverweightIncreased
30.0 to 34.9Obese Class -IHigh
35.0 to 39.9Obese Class -IIVery High
40 or HigherObese Class -IIIExtremely High

Waist Circumference

Waist circumference is a less-common method used to measure obesity in an individual. This simple measurement indicates obesity and morbid obesity in adults by measuring your waist. To find your waist circumference, you have to wrap a measuring tape around the area above your hip bone and below your rib cage.

For females, a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. For men, a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. There is no chart or range that specifies obesity, only the simple measurements are used as a parameter to determine obesity.

Complications Related To Obesity

Obese people are more likely to develop these complications after a certain time period :

  • Diabetes (Type-2 Diabetes) resulting from excess sugar in blood.
  • Atherosclerosis – Narrowing of Arteries Due to Plaque build-up (High Blood Cholesterol contributes towards this phenomenon)
  • Coronary Heart Diseases Including – Heart Attack
  • Cerebrovascular Diseases including Stroke
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, Endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
  • Gynecological problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
  • Non alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in liver leading to swelling and inflammation.

Tips to prevent weight gain :

  • Avoid Processed Sugar.
  • Avoid Processed Food such as Maida(White Flour) and products made of Maida
  • Have a Low Carbohydrate Diet, as Far as possible consume complex/fibrous carbohydrates rich in nutrients. Excess carbohydrate and sedentary lifestyle causes Insulin Resistance.
  • Natural Fats can be consumed in moderation and they are important for good health and sound metabolism. Avoid processed fat like commercially available processed dairy products. Milk and homemade Ghee can be consumed. Avoid Fast Food. Also avoid processed oils. Virgin Oils are always better.
  • You should get your daily dose of proteins. Your diet should be rich in proteins and vitamins.
  • Avoid erratic timings for food consumption, as this ruptures body’s natural metabolic patterns and also enhances tendency to binge eat.
  • The role of sufficient sound sleep is a key factor.
  • Learn to manage stress and when stressed out, consume dry fruits or fruits before you head out for lunch or dinner, this will help you stay away from the tendency of binge eating due to stress.

Obesity and Weight Loss Treatment

  • I adopt a multidimensional approach for treating Obesity. I focus on changing the lifestyle and related factors of people affected with Obesity.
  • I perform a thorough assessment of the individuals, their medical history, lifestyle, personality, and their current life scenarios.
  • Based on the Assessment, I chart out a specific treatment plan that is holistic and an implementation calendar to yield tangible results and bring about a sustainable transformation.