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'Abdominal Obesity Increases Lifestyle Diseases Risk'; How Much Weight For Your Height?

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : May 10, 2024, 5:09 PM IST

Updated : May 29, 2024, 6:52 PM IST

According to a recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), individuals with abdominal obesity (adiposity) and overall obesity are at an enhanced risk of chronic non-communicable diseases. It suggested healthy diet management and physical exercise as a safeguard to avoid NCDs. This article

Abdominal obesity and overall obesity are at an enhanced risk of lifestyle diseases: ICMR
Representational Image (GettyImages)

New Delhi: The latest study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has revealed that individuals with abdominal obesity (adiposity) and overall obesity are at an enhanced risk of lifestyle diseases (chronic non-communicable diseases—NCDs), including type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, gallstones, joint disorders (osteoarthritis), hypertension, other cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and psycho-social problems.

"A marked increase in the prevalence of abdominal obesity (increased waist circumference), overweight, and obesity among all age groups in rural and urban areas has occurred in the last few decades. About 25 per cent of Indians are either overweight or obese," the study 'Dietary Guidelines for Indians' said.

Interestingly, the guidelines in the study have taken into consideration food groups and food items derived from common Indian diets, such as whole grains, pulses, milk, vegetables, and fruits, to facilitate diet-related decision-making. In order to capture the diverse cultural, culinary, and food groups that exist in the country, the current guidelines categorise foods into ten different food groups for a healthy diet.

The study said that excess energy intake and reduced physical activity lead to an excess accumulation of fat in the body. "Avoid or restrict foods containing high sugar, fat, salt, and ultra-processed foods. These foods hasten the processes of adiposity and obesity. Being physically active and following a healthy diet will help reduce abdominal obesity," the findings of the study said.

What are overweight and obesity?

The definition of overweight and obesity is based on the body mass index (BMI). In general, a BMI for adults, as per the World Health Organization (WHO), ranging from 18.5 to 25 kg is considered normal. However, for Asians, it is recommended that the BMI be between 18.5 and 22.3 kg since they tend to have a higher percentage of body fat even at a given BMI compared to Caucasians and Europeans, which leaves them at a higher risk of NCDs.

What is the Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI is the ratio of weight and height, which estimates total body mass and correlates highly with the percentage of body fat. It is computed by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of the height in meters. The ideal ranges of weight for a given height are provided by the WHO, which is useful for categorising people as normal (ideal), undernourished, overweight, or obese.

Central and abdominal obesity

Fat accumulation, especially the distribution of fat around the abdomen (central obesity) and internal organs is now considered to be more harmful. Central obesity, as indicated by a higher waist circumference, is considered a risk factor for lifestyle diseases such as NCDs.

What causes abdominal and overall obesity?

Overeating along with decreased physical activity predisposes an individual to overweight and obesity, but solely depending on highly refined grains, processed foods, and high sugar intake derange our metabolism and predispose us to obesity. Unhealthy dietary practices during infancy and childhood (such as overfeeding) play an important role in predisposing individuals to overweight and obesity in adulthood. Low and high birth weight (4000g) and obesity during childhood and adolescence are also likely to cause overweight and obesity in adulthood.

In addition, women are at higher risk of becoming overweight and obese during pregnancy and after menopause. Genetic (familial) factors as well as complex behavioral and psychological factors that may influence eating patterns may also contribute to overweight and obesity, but the effect of dietary and physical activity behavior is more profound than genetics.

How to maintain appropriate body weight and waist circumference (abdominal adiposity or obesity)

To maintain an appropriate weight and waist circumference, one must include fresh vegetables in every meal, consume whole grains, pulses, and beans, and avoid sugar, processed products, fruit juices, and HFSS foods. Regular physical activity and yoga are crucial to maintaining good health and weight. Weight reduction should be gradual. Weight reduction diets should not be less than 1000 kcal per day and should provide all nutrients. A reduction of half a kilogram of body weight per week is considered safe. Approaches to rapid weight loss and the use of anti-obesity drugs should be avoided.

Plan balanced meals with sufficient vegetables.

The study suggested including whole grains like minimally processed rice, whole wheat roti, millets (nutricereals), barely bamboo rice, and legumes like beans and lentils in the recommended cereal pulse ratio. They are rich in fibre and nutrients. They provide sustained energy and help you feel full, reducing the need for extra calories.

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Last Updated : May 29, 2024, 6:52 PM IST
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