Srinagar, Aug 31:
At least 29% females and 20.5% males are suffering from obesity in Jammu and Kashmir caused by eating too much and moving too little.
Health officials say the cases are going up at an alarming rate.
“J&K is facing a burden of obesity with 29% females and 20.5% males being obese or overweight,” read the health policy drafted under the chairmanship of Director General of Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem Ur Rehman.
It said parallel to an increase in obesity among women, there is an increase in blood sugar among women aged 15-49 years.
“10.7% of women in the age group (15-49) have blood sugar higher than 140mg/dl. The prevalence of hypertension among them is also high,” it notes.
Rehman said the policy seeks government to intervene on taxation on sugary drinks, adopt standards for labeling and marketing of salt in food, and to implement standards for effective labeling and marketing of food.
It is very important to take steps to tackle obesity because, as doctors say it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.
“Fruit and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Their sufficient daily consumption could help prevent major diseases such as CVDs and certain cancers,” he said.
Researchers have found that eating fruit and vegetables may lower the risk of some cancers, particularly cancers of the gastrointestinal tract which are the commonest cancers in J&K.
“International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that the preventable percentage of cancer due to low fruit and vegetable intake ranges from 5-12 % for all cancers, and up to 20-30% for upper gastrointestinal tract cancers worldwide,” said Rehman.
The policy draft notes that high sodium consumption and insufficient potassium intake contribute to high blood pressure and increase risk of heart diseases, stroke and reducing salt intake can reduce the burden of these diseases by a very cost-effective method.
“It is important to educate and communicate to empower individuals to eat less salt in the form of noon chai (salt tea) and increase intake of fruits and vegetables to combat NCDs,” it said.
According to doctors lack of physical activity is an important factor related to obesity. Many people have jobs that involve sitting at desk for most of the day. They also rely on their cars, rather than walking or cycling.
Dr Shariq Rashid Masoodi, professor department of endocrinology, SKIMS Soura said most of the people don’t agree that they are obese.
“We take energy-rich food and our activities have also dropped considerably. If you’re not active enough you don’t use the energy provided by the food you eat, and the extra energy you consume is stored by the body as fat,” he said.
People go on taking food, for relaxation, many people tend to watch TV, browse internet, play computer games, and rarely go for regular exercises.
“Many people agree they are obese but they don’t agree they are taking more food than they consume,” said Masoodi.
He also said that children across Kashmir take normal food but they don’t do the activity at all.
“Due to lifestyle changes, there is no activity at all. We use cars even we go to shops. Physical activity is very important to fight the obesity,” Masoodi said.
Although SKIMS has an obesity clinic but doctoing Kashmirrs said many overweight people are still shy and don’t to go doctors for consultations.
“People must come out. There are many obese people who are not seen on the streets. The magnitude of the disease is huge. Some people can’t fit the seats in vehicles or drive a car and they do not travel,” he said.
Courtesy: Rising Kashmir