Preventing an Obese India
Urbanization and development come with their own backlashes, and when it’s something to do with health issues, it becomes time to sit up and take notice. People in cities are increasingly leading sedentary lives and due to increased cost of urban living, are unable to afford increasingly expensive healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. So while the urban rich have access to gyms and health clubs, the urban poor are unable to afford even the benefits of physical activities aside from healthy foods.
With an increasing level of development and its associated inflation and poor lifestyle, India is fast becoming the capital of lifestyle conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; obesity is not too far behind either as wealth brings with it its own share of evils like morbid obesity.
With development, the rural scenario in India has also been benefiting over the years with a comparatively improved infrastructure, education and health facilities, nutrition as well as overall income for the rural poor. Easier access to television and city life has resulted in incorporation of some ill-habits of the urbanites into the more active rural lifestyle; prevalence of an increased BMI as well as abdominal obesity has seen a significant rise over the last two decades and is a contributory factor to the overall increase in metabolic diseases like diabetes.
While there is no easy ‘quick-fix’ for this burgeoning problem, the solution for the Indian obesity epidemic lies in going back to our roots and taking a more meaningful look at the teachings in our ancient books. Combining these teachings along with scientific logic can help the common Indian attain the ideal weight in no time.
Yoga, meditation, vegetarian diet as well as walking and traditional dances are all part of our culture and with increasing modernization of lifestyles, these important aspects of our lives are getting left behind. Incorporating these simple factors back into our life again would add more meaning as well as group fun into society as a whole.
These are all low-cost indigenous public health strategies that would benefit the society as a whole; the only catch is that the society should be ready to accept these changes. In structured clinical therapy, there are guidelines for treating obesity, ranging from lifestyle changes, to medications and finally to bariatric surgery, but the society as a whole first needs to change its mindset and opt for a different lifestyle altogether.
It should be noted here that some of our traditional foods too are overloaded with carbohydrates and oils and people need to move away from these specific foods, however mouth-watering they may seem, to cut down on sources of unhealthy fat. The government too needs to get more active and spearhead an obesity prevention program to nip this looming threat of obesity, as well as the complications associated with it.