New Delhi: In India, obesity is becoming a new health scare. According to the Indian Journal of Community Medicine presently India has more than 135 million obese people. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5 survey released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, conducted in the year 2019-20 also found a drastic rise in obesity among children under five years of age in 20 out of the 22 states, where the study was conducted.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines obesity as excessive fat accumulation that presents several health risks. A Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and above 30, it is considered obese.
Team Banega Swasth India speaks with Nutritionist Tapasya Mundhra to further talk about the rising issue of obesity in the country, what can be done to prevent it.
NDTV: What is the difference between obesity and overweight?
Tapasya Mundhra: Obesity is the situation where we get warning signs that our health is in danger. Obesity generally means a much higher amount of body fat. It is an alarming state whereas being overweight is the stage where you can rectify the problem.
NDTV: What are some of the symptoms that highlight that the person is falling in the obese category?
Tapasya Mundhra: When you start to feel breathless, when your stomach circumference increases to a large extent, you start experiencing knee pains, start facing issues while sitting or standing, start getting issues with cholesterol, your lipid profile goes haywire, and you experience the problem of sugar; then that means you are in an obese category.
NDTV: COVID-19 and the increasing burden of obesity – How can we tackle it?
Tapasya Mundhra: The trend that I have seen in my practice is that in the first wave of COVID19, the obesity factor wasn’t there as much as at that time people were also doing their own homework. But in the second wave, we saw a gradual shift in the lifestyle of people – their movements were restricted, they preferred sitting at one place, as a result growing obesity factor was seen.
But there is an urgent need to rectify it as soon as possible and take care of our health. We should go out for walks, do some sort of exercise or Yoga on a daily basis, follow 10k steps rule. Everything is possible if we want to do it, so we need to stop giving an excuse that we don’t have time.
NDTV: What are some health tips that can help one lose excess weight?
Tapasya Mundhra: These days, people follow the intermittent fasting trend, it is not a bad thing, but most of the people do it in the wrong way. They think they can eat junk or whatever they like in the eating window. I suggest, if people are looking to lose weight, they should avoid starvation, ensure they include fruits and vegetables in their meals. They should also avoid processed grains, instead opt for fibrous grains like millets, ragi, wheat atta. One should eat good fats, which doesn’t mean one should only have avocados or nuts. Have a roti with ghee on it. If someone is looking for weight loss, the key is portion control. Another important thing is to have dinner as early as possible. We should avoid eating at night and sleep immediately after that.
NDTV: Why are we seeing an increasing trend of obesity in children?
Tapasya Mundhra: The biggest problem is that there are so many options available to us. One can order junk in a minute with a tap of a button. To tackle childhood obesity, parents will have to play an important role. There is no age barrier in obesity, the youngest of the youngest lot can be tackled if they are given a balanced diet.
Childhood obesity needs to be tackled as if children grow up with obesity, their immunity will be compromised in later stages.
NDTV: Why do some people find it difficult to lose weight?
Tapasya Mundhra: Everybody is different, for some bodies calorie deficit doesn’t help. It can be a possibility that a person is eating way too little or is not eating the right food at a right time, has an important role to play in the weight loss journey. So, there are many factors associated when a person doesn’t lose weight.
NDTV: Foods one should have to get better immunity?
Tapasya Mundhra: One should focus on a plant-based diet in order to get better immunity. Have tulsi, amla, ginger & ashwagandha on a regular basis.
NDTV: PCOD disease and obesity – what’s the link?
Tapasya Mundhra: PCOD is a lifestyle disorder, first one needs to take care of the disease and then only you will be able to lose weight. Exercise is a must for people struggling with PCOD, get yourself a chart, cure PCOD and you will start to see weight loss happening.
NDTV: Why sugar is bad for your health?
Tapasya Mundhra: Sugar is like smoking, it is a slow poison, so one should avoid it as much as possible. We get sugar from food items like fruits, grains, milk or dairy products – so there is anyways a lot of sugar consumption happening through the day. If you have sugar cravings, have gudh, dates, prunes, swap your food items.
You can listen to the full Banega Swasth India podcast discussion by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.