World Obesity Day: Monitor BMI, eat in moderation, and exercise regularly to stay healthy


By Dr H V Shivaram

Due to fast-changing, sedentary lifestyle, caloric consumption of the present generation has increased by manifold and the calorie-burning capacity has reduced tremendously.

Many of the present day children and youngsters, especially in cities, do not know what it is to be hungry. Binging on junk repeatedly during the day and eating out has become a status symbol. The fast food centres, carbonated drinks and restaurants have replaced the home cooked food and healthy beverages.

As per WHO report, India has the world's third-largest obese population. After the USA, the epidemic of childhood obesity is gripping India. According to an international journal by Paediatric Obesity, India will have over 17 million obese children by 2025 and become the world's second-highest country of obese children.

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Obesity is one of the most preventable causes of various medical problems in the world today, which includes diseases like diabetes, hypertension, liver diseases, cancers, infertility, joints pains, sleep apnoea and heart diseases. It has tremendous impact on economic burden of the country and individual families.

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The annual medical costs of treating the consequences of obesity such as diabetes and heart disease is truly alarming. The annual cost of treating obesity-related issues like heart diseases, diabetes, liver disorders, depression and cancer will reach a shocking $13 billion in India by 2025, according to the new survey.

Obesity is usually measured by Body Mass Index (BMI) which is the ratio of height & weight. It is important to understand when your are getting closer to the risk of obesity. (Monitor your BMI now)

Normal BMI: 18.0-22.9 kg/m2
Overweight: 23.0-24.9 kg/m2
Obesity: >25 kg/m2
Morbid obesity: >32.5kg/m2

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Diet food contains fewer calories, and serves as a healthier alternative to conventional snacks such as potato chips, burgers and other fast food. Experts at have listed some of the healthy diet snacks and food that could be consumed on different days of the week.

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Diet beaten rice (chivda) is a mixed snack popular across India and often served with hot beverages. It is made of ingredients such as flattened rice, dried peas, raisins, and so on. Available in different combinations,it is a healthy treat as most of the ingredients are either dried or baked, and contain little to no oil or fat.

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While fried potato chips top the list of unhealthy foods in the world, its diet version is the opposite, without compromising on taste. Diet potato chips are mostly baked and use little to no oil, and make for a yummy snack between meals.

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Beaten rice (chivda) is the main ingredient in poha. When lightly roasted, it can be mixed with various spices and consumed as a healthy snack all through the day.

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A container of masala chickpeas packs several vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and protein, keeping one fuller for longer.

One needs to make basic changes in his/her daily lifestyle to prevent obesity. In order to manage obesity, people can adopt the following healthy practices:

Everyone has only 24 hours per day and we have to prioritise our schedule. Exercise at least one hour daily to stay fit. Take up any activity like walking, jogging, swimming, gym workouts for a healthy lifestyle. Having 3 meals a day and good sleep is mandatory.

In order to lead a healthy lifestyle, we need to limit our daily food consumption to 30%. The remaining 70% of what we eat leads to obesity and other diseases. One doesn't need to opt for ketogenic or other diets. Simple home-cooked meals with a balance of protein, carbs and fibre are sufficient to provide nutrients to the body.

Don't forget to monitor your basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Our bodies are designed according to the places we are born, therefore a diet followed by an American will not suit the Indian. We should stick to our roots and the food preparation in our country. Junk food and carbonated drinks should be strictly avoided. As we grow older, our body metabolism slows down and we need to eat less to prevent obesity.

Healthy Diet1_ThinkstockPhotos

Make it a point to take a break from those glaring screens at your offices, laptops at homes, TV screens in living rooms. Working individuals should stretch, take a stroll after lunch, stay hydrated, have refreshing conversations with colleagues, and interact and participate as much as possible.

Minor weight gains
Gaining half a kilo or kilo might not sound bothersome for many, but that's where you should start acting on it. These little weight gain are crucial to handle. If your BMI suggests you are not obese, it's not a good news. If you are overweight that is good enough a reason to get active. Being overweight is unhealthy too.

Obesity can't be tackled in a day or by hiring a professional trainer and hitting the gym for three months or by going to the naturopathy centre for a week or two. Obesity is a serious health hazard and needs to be handled by making some permanent changes in the lifestyle.

Dr H V Shivaram, Chief Surgeon and Sr. Consultant - GI & Bariatric Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital
Dr H V Shivaram, Chief Surgeon and Sr. Consultant - GI & Bariatric Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital

(The author is Chief Surgeon and Sr. Consultant - GI & Bariatric Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital)

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