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Lancet Study: Rise in Obesity Rates

Why is it in the news?

  • Obesity rates are on the rise globally, as reported by a recent analysis published in The Lancet journal.

·       Obesity, defined by the WHO, signifies an abnormal accumulation of fat with associated health risks.

·       A body mass index (BMI) exceeding 25 indicates overweight, while a BMI over 30 is categorized as obese.

·       BMI is calculated as an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared.


More about the news

  • Over 1 billion individuals, encompassing children, adolescents, and adults, are affected by obesity globally.
  • In 2022, 159 million children and adolescents, along with 879 million adults, were classified as obese.

Indian Obesity Statistics:

  • In India, the obesity rate among girls escalated from 0.1% in 1990 to 3.1% in 2022, while for boys, it rose from 0.1% to 3.9% during the same period.
  • India’s global ranking in obesity prevalence stood at 174th for both girls and boys in 2022.
  • Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), conducted from 2019 to 2021, indicates that approximately 6.4% of women and 4.0% of men aged 15-49 in India are obese.

Causes of Obesity

  • Poor Diet: Consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods contribute to weight gain, particularly diets rich in refined carbohydrates and fats.
  • Lack of Physical Activity: Sedentary lifestyles play a significant role in obesity, characterized by minimal physical activity.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including antidepressants and corticosteroids, may induce weight gain as a side effect.
  • Sleep: Disrupted sleep patterns or sleep disorders can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to increased appetite and weight gain.
  • Genetics: Genetic predisposition influences individual susceptibility to obesity, contributing to varying degrees of weight gain among individuals.

Addressing Obesity

  • Multi-faceted Approach: Combating adolescent obesity requires a comprehensive strategy involving government policies, community initiatives, and individual efforts.
  • Policy Interventions: Regulations on the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages to children, restrictions on junk food advertisements targeting children, and clear nutritional labelling are crucial.
  • Promoting Healthy Habits: Encouraging physical activity through daily household chores and outdoor activities is essential in combating obesity among adolescents.

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