Obesity rising in most states covered by National Family Health Survey

Goa is home to the largest percentage of obese women at 33.5%, while Sikkim is home to the largest percentage of obese men at 34.8%


According to WHO, many low-and middle-income countries are now experiencing a sharp rise in non-communicable disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight. 

Photo: Bloomberg
According to WHO, many low-and middle-income countries are now experiencing a sharp rise in non-communicable disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Obesity has risen substantially in most states in the past decade, according to data from the first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 released on Tuesday. The survey looks at findings for 13 states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and two Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

All states that could be compared to data from NHFS-3 from a decade ago showed a rise in population with obesity.

Among women, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal saw the sharpest rise in overweight people, while among men, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana saw the most substantial rise in overweight people. Goa is home to the largest percentage of obese women at 33.5%, while Sikkim is home to the largest percentage of obese men at 34.8%.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), many low-and middle-income countries are now facing a double burden of disease which means that while they continue to struggle with infectious disease and under-nutrition, they are also experiencing a sharp rise in non-communicable disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight.

“India is not an exception; obesity is on the rise across the world. Several small surveys have been showing that obesity is on the rise and the national data confirms the trend. This could be a result of lifestyles changing over the years and is a confounder of a large number of non-communicable diseases,” said Sutapa Agrawal, an epidemiologist with Public Health Foundation of India, a public-private initiative involving Indian and international academics, and state and central governments.

Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 is considered overweight. According to WHO, the worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014.

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