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.

Avoid heating food in plastic containers in a microwave

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community Comments Off

Hazardous chemicals in plastic containers can leach out to the bloodstream upon heating

New Delhi, 09 May 2018: Food microwaved in plastic containers can put you at greater risk of infertility, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, as per recent studies. Heating plastic containers in the microwave releases 95% of all chemicals, which could lead to high blood pressure, affect fertility, and damage functioning of the brain. It is important, therefore, to try and minimize the use of plastic and pack food in glass containers.

The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. When ingested, they get into the bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “When food is heated in plastic containers in a microwave, the heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into the food. Indirect consumption of these chemicals can wreak havoc on the system. BPA and phthalates are believed to be ‘endocrine disrupters’, substances that mimic human hormones, and not essentially healthy for the system. ‘Microwave-safe’ labelling on a container indicates that they won’t melt or break when heated. However, they do not guarantee safety for health.”

If microwaving food in plastics is unavoidable, then consider the recycling codes at the bottom of the container. These indicate the type of plastic used. It is better to avoid any that have the code 3 or 7.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Endocrine disruptors are capable of interfering with the way our glands produce hormones that govern virtually everything our bodies do. This includes the way we reproduce, grow, sleep, heal, develop mentally and burn energy. They disrupt this system, and upon reaching the receptors, they either block or mimic the hormonal messages, triggering abnormal responses.”

HCFI tips for using the microwave.

If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for use in microwave ovens.
Don’t let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.

Need to educate healthcare providers on obesity

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They should be kept abreast on the latest prevention and treatment methods


New Delhi, 27 March 2018: As per a recent study conducted by Washington University, most healthcare providers lack knowledge and understanding of recommended obesity treatments, such as behavioral counseling and pharmacotherapy. They participants cited lack of time, reimbursement, and knowledge as major barriers to treating patients with obesity.

The study has identified the need for obesity education among primary health care providers that focuses on knowledge along with enhanced competencies in patient care management, communication, and behavior change. The prevalence of obesity in India is increasing and ranges from 8% to 38% in rural and 13% to 50% in urban areas.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Healthcare professionals and providers play a very important role in helping overcome. It begins with recognizing that individuals who have obesity require understanding, respect and support; and acknowledging that overweight and obesity are major causes of ill health which present huge social and economic burdens. It is imperative to keep all healthcare professionals up to date with the latest prevention and treatment methods for obesity. Apart from this, the need of the hour is to create awareness about the magnitude of the problem and reduce the stigma associated with this condition.”

BMI or Body Mass Index is the most common way to determine whether a person is in the healthy weight range or not. A person with a BMI 30 and above is universally considered obese, as per WHO.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “People with obesity who reduce their weight by 5% will have improvements in metabolic function in many tissues, including fat, liver, and muscle. Further weight loss of 10 to 15% results in additional improvements. Apart from this simple lifestyle modifications can also bring about major changes.”

HCFI tips for managing obesity.

  • Cutting calories The key to weight loss is reducing how many calories you take in.
  • Feeling full on less The concept of energy density can help you satisfy your hunger with fewer calories.
  • Making healthier choices To make your overall diet healthier, eat more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates.
  • Physical activity Make exercise an important part of your daily routine. Start slow and increase the duration as you go along.

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