Posted on May 11, 2019, 12:56 PM IST
Obesity has badly cornered our world. It is not just about a few countries in exclusivity but rather a global epidemic of sorts. For the longest time we have thought that obesity effects the “affluent” as the rural population has relatively meagre means for a problem of this kind.
But this knowledge has been challenged by the Imperial College, London which has presented an all facts inclusive study showing that the “ body mass index (BMI), a measure of overweight and obesity, of the rural population has been rising at a faster rate compared to the cities in the middle-income countries like India.” This observation was published in The Hindu.
The research was carried across 200 countries and the data was collected for over 112 million adults belonging to the urban and the rural segments. The findings and observations of the research as mentioned state that, from 1985 to 2017, the BMI rose by an average of 2.0 kg/m2 in women and 2.2 kg/m2 in men.
One comparison it was found that in rural areas the BMI increased by 2.1 kg/m2 in both men and women whereas the cities registered a relatively lower increase of 1.3 kg/m2 and 1.6 kg/m2 in women and men. Over the past 33 years an average person has become 5 to 6 kilograms heavier. Talking about India, the obesity in men has gone up from 2 percent to 12 percent whereas the obesity in women has gone up from 4 percent to 16 percent in rural India.
R. Hemalatha, director of ICMR-NIN (National institute of Nutrition) has quoted that “Consumption of low-quality calories in foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and milk is the major driver of overweight and obesity and also stunting and anaemia in India. It’s time to focus on nutrition security to stop the increasing disease burden in India,”
There is no denying the fact that the rural population all over the world is experiencing a paradigm shift towards better infrastructure, agricultural revolution, increased income and the like. Majority of our rural population is tilting towards cheap processed foods that satiate hunger and taste at the same time. A. Laxmaiah who is a scientist and head of the public health nutrition division at the ICMR-NIN has quoted that “More than half of the global rise over these 33 years was due to the increase in BMI in rural areas”.
It is high time that we start addressing this problem on a more serious note, both at an individual and a collective level or it would not be long before we experience an atrocious global outbreak of Obesity.