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  • Writer's pictureVineeta Malik

Weight Matters - Part 1

Some time back, I found myself in one of those big malls, for a little shopping. It was a Saturday evening, and the mall was bustling with people who had come out to dine and shop. As I walked down the corridors, I observed the people around me chatting with friends and family, eating ice-cream, popcorn, and all sorts of snacks.

What I saw over the hour or two I spent observing them aligned with what the statistics tell us: the majority of men and women past their 30’s is either overweight, or obese. It is acceptable in our society to gain weight once we are married; there is no requirement to look good to attract a partner since that is apparently the primary aim in getting fit. We just tend to let ourselves go out of shape. Even with seemingly thin people, beer belly is common.

And once we are past middle age, having multiple lifestyle diseases and taking multiple pills daily becomes the norm. Joint pains, difficulty in walking, heart problems, all of these are chalked up to old age. It’s as if we do not even expect a decent quality of life once we have entered into what are sometimes called the “golden years”.

However, more than the actual percentage of people who are overweight/obese, the acceptance of extra weight as a normal part of our life is dangerous. It closes the door to the alternate possibility, the possibility of leading an active, energetic and pill-free life through middle-age into our senior years.

What’s more, many people do not even realize they are overweight or obese. Let’s see what being overweight/obese looks like:

The graph above represents global BMI cut-offs (body-mass index, a rough estimate of how fit/unfit a person is), the cut-offs for Indian population are lower, at 23 (Overweight) and 27.5 (Obese).

We can see how easy it is to reach that level. Just a little step from normal to overweight; you might not even notice the shift. It’s small steps like these that lead us to obesity and all the problems it brings along.

I keep wondering, why people do not take any steps to go back to what they weighed in their 20s and 30s?

Just, why?

Is it the lack of knowledge on how to achieve optimum weight? Almost everyone in today’s world knows about healthy eating and active living. However, for some, there is a lot of confusion with respect to nutrition and exercise. Sometimes the cause of obesity is also not that simple.

Is it the “how”; the lifestyle factors and changes that are necessary to implement, is that what is not common knowledge? But these are simple to learn!

Is it then that they are difficult to adapt to practically?

Or, maybe we do not realize the impact of weight gain and obesity on our health and our lives? Do most of us lack awareness, knowledge of the danger we put our body and mind in, day in and day out, by our seemingly innocent habits, a result of the modern mechanized and digitized, fast-food chomping world?

One of the major aims of creating this blog is to spread awareness on both: the hazards our body faces due to our lifestyle choices, and how significantly we can improve by making better choices. This series of posts is thus part of our awareness project, to make you, the reader, aware of the impact our body weight has on our health and the quality of our life.

Medical evidence suggests that obesity is either a risk factor for, or associated with many diseases and conditions which include:

That’s more than 10 body systems affected by and a total of 100 different medical conditions that are associated with/caused by obesity. Scary, isn’t it, a single factor in your life that can lead to increased risk of a plethora of medical conditions, some of them such serious, debilitating, even fatal illnesses?

This is what we want to raise awareness about. This is what we want to talk about.

In coming posts we will take a more detailed look at some of these medical conditions, those which are common, serious, and have a major impact on the quality of our life.

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