Yesterday, the popular television channel – News 9, aired a documentary on the rising problem of childhood obesity in India. This was followed by a panel discussion which had health experts and students participating. I was one of the panelists in this interesting and lively 2-hour discussion. Several viewers also called in with their comments and queries.
We all know that the major cause for obesity is a combination of poor food habits and lack of exercise. Other influencing factors are stress, hormonal changes, maternal health, genetic predisposition, and so on. Food intake itself has a lot of influencing factors particularly in children and teenagers. Availability, accessibility, familial habits, convenience, time (or the lack of it), etc. Additionally, advertisements in the media, celebrities promoting unhealthy foods, peers bringing junk to school / college, educational institutions providing only high fat / high salt / high sugar options in their canteens, parents not caring enough about health, have a great influence on a youngster’s food choices.
Can we blame a single person or give a single reason for the rise in the number of overweight / obese people in India? No. There are multiple reasons for this problem but there is a solution. Take responsibility for your health and weight! If each one of us takes care of our health and weight sincerely by making positive lifestyle choices, 75% of the battle is won! The remaining 25% can be won with the help of qualified experts. If you are overweight / obese, don’t lose hope. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
A recent news item said that Samoa Air will charge the passengers according to their weight. It’s the first airline to do so. Although, not many people across the globe fly this airline, perhaps there’s a message in this decision – you’re better off with less weight.
Talking about weight, when was the last time you weighed yourself on a weighing machine? If you know your weight in kg and your height in meters, apply this formula to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) – weight (in kg) / height (in meters squared). If your BMI falls within 23, your weight is normal. If your BMI is above 23, you are overweight and need to reduce. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, adult diabetes, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and many other health problems.
Check your weight at least once a month and maintain it within the normal range.