Obesity will become an epidemic provided it is not tackled immediately

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Diabetes and heart problems are comorbid conditions which will also see an increase

New Delhi, 25 May 2018: About a quarter of the global population will be obese in 27 years from now, as per recent research. It is expected that 22% of people in the world will be obese by 2045, up from 14% in 2017. The prevalence of diabetes is also expected to increase from 9.1% to 11.7% by 2045. One out of eight people around the world are likely to suffer from Type-2 diabetes. Unless changes are made both at the personal and global levels, the costs and health challenges will only magnify.

Obesity is identified as a medical condition marked by the accumulation of excessive body fat with negative health impacts. It is generally reported in terms of body mass index (BMI), a value obtained by dividing an individual’s weight by the square of their height. A BMI beyond 30 kg/m2 is considered obese, while a value between 25 and 30kg/m2 is defined as overweight.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Obesity is the mother of conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. India faces a dual burden. On the one hand is malnutrition and on the other is obesity. What makes obesity in India different from the rest of the world is that in our country, it is marked by the ‘Thin-Fat Indian Phenotype’. This means that there is a higher proportion of people with body fat, abdominal obesity, and visceral fat, in comparison with Caucasian and European counterparts. Hence, world obesity generally reported in terms of waist circumference, and a BMI beyond 30, significantly underestimates the prevalence of obesity in India. Indian obesity needs to be estimated according to a lower threshold of BMI 25. Additionally, even a normal BMI of up to 23, might show higher instances of isolated abdominal obesity.”
Two primary culprits of obesity include a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating patterns. The consumption of processed food has increased manifold. This, combined with untimely working patterns and lack of physical activity, make the situation worse.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “The traditional Indian diet is rich in carbohydrates. People consume large quantities of rice, rotis, and even bread. Apart from this, there is widespread availability of fried and unhealthy fast food today, which are all contributors to empty calories in the diet. Indians are caught amidst all this and therefore, the increase in the prevalence of obesity does not come as a surprise.”
Some tips from HCFI
• The key to weight loss is reducing how many calories you take in.
• The concept of energy density can help you satisfy your hunger with fewer calories.
• To make your overall diet healthier, eat more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates.
• Make exercise an important part of your daily routine. Start slow and increase the duration as you go along.

Know about bats

Health Care Comments Off

The recent Nipah outbreak being reported from Kerala has brought into focus the role of bats in transmission of the Nipah virus infection. Here is a brief overview of their habitat, types and diseases of human importance (zoonoses) caused by them.

Bats are ubiquitous and are present throughout the world, except in the extremely cold regions.
They are found everywhere; tree hollows, caves and tunnels, rock crevices, old ruins of buildings, human dwellings (barns, sheds, attics and other outbuildings) are the natural habitats of bats.
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. Their forelimbs are adapted as wings. So, they are the only mammals that can fly.
There are about 1,200 species of bats, which is one-fifth of all mammal species, ranging from the worlds smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans.
Bats have a long life, more than 30 years, so they can carry the pathogens for long time and also spread the infection longer.
Some bats can fly for long distances, even beyond 1000 km, and spread the diseases over a larger area.
Most bats are nocturnal in habit.
Bats are usually grouped into two: the megabats (also called fruit bats or flying-foxes) and the echolocating microbats.
Megabats mainly eat fruits, nectar and pollen, the microbats are mainly insectivorous. They mainly eat night-flying insects, such as mosquitoes and other insects that destroy crops. A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour. The vampire bats feed on blood.
Bats are important in their ecosystems for pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds.
Bats are carriers of many pathogens – mainly viruses, which can spread to humans and cause severe disease. Their droppings may contaminate the spaces in which they live.
Bats do not live in close contact with humans, but they can spread the infection through intermediate animal hosts (livestock, pets), which are in close contact with humans such as horses, pigs etc. This is believed to be the most common route of transmission of infection to humans. These intermediate hosts acquire the infection by eating food that has been partially digested by bats.
Aerosol transmission may occur when humans accidentally enter the bat roosting caves.
Infection may also occur via direct contact with bats, such as catching bats or been bitten by bats and scavenging of bat carcasses.
Bats are natural reservoirs of rabies and Hendra virus. Other diseases carried by bats include histoplasmosis, leptospirosis, Salmonella.
Bats are natural reservoirs of many viruses, many of which are emerging human pathogens. These include Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses, Nipah and Hendra viruses.
Some bacterial spps such as Salmonella, Pasteurella, Bartonella and fungal spps like histoplasma capsulatum are also known to spread by bats.