Obesity – The Silent Epidemic

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions among people of every age and needs to be controlled before it spreads further. Today, regardless of the age-group, obesity is a major ‘medical condition’ that requires immediate attention of doctors and obesity specialists. In India, around 13.5 cr individuals are suffering from obesity, with approximately 73 percent overweight and 34 percent leading an inactive lifestyle. Top that with the fact that millions of youngsters are struggling with medical conditions and complications that come along with obesity—hypertension, sleep apnea, diabetes, joint problems, heart disease, respiratory issues and certain cancers.

Need to Fight Obesity
It’s high time that we openly address the effects of obesity. And, before we talk about the right treatment for it, we need to stop referring to it as a behavioural abnormality. With the right support and information, people suffering from obesity can be ‘fit’ and live a life free from obesity-related diseases.

On the occasion of Anti-obesity Day, a first of its kind conclave held at IIM (Ahmedabad) highlighted how obesity is a health hazard that requires our immediate attention. The gathering witnessed an effective and engaging discussion between government officials, doctors, celebrities and management students. The theme of the conclave also echoed the government’s Fit India movement.

Key Discussion Points at IIM Ahmedabad Anti-obesity Meet: 

● Getting the right treatment at the right time – Obesity is often accompanied by social stigma, which makes it difficult for people to seek help. But there are numerous viable options available, including consulting by an obesity specialist and surgeries for people with BMI 35+

● Treatment by a specialist – Many people tend to blame themselves for obesity and fall prey to social pressure. However, it is high time for individuals to understand that obesity requires treatment from a specialist and not the unchecked information that has been circulating around it. Furthermore, obesity has different stages as well, where a few could be treated by the right diet while others may need medical intervention and surgery. An obesity specialist can help people in distinguishing the obesity stage and offer the right treatment. 

● Government initiatives – Even the government has taken stringent measures and launched a fight against obesity through various initiatives including the National Multisectoral Action (NMA) plan for prevention and control of common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), National Monitoring Framework (NMF), Ayushman Bharat and Fit India Movement.

● Insurance – The conclave highlighted the revolutionary step to include obesity treatment under insurance cover. IRDAI’s new insurance guidelines will go a long way in eliminating misinformation about obesity treatment. One of the highlights of the recently concluded conclave was testimonials shared by individuals who underwent obesity surgeries. They shared how their lives altered after the decision to meet an obesity specialist and seek treatment. These patient stories bear testimony to the undying spirit of those who are fighting obesity in their journey to be fitter and healthier.

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