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Are you obese? New Indian obesity guidelines here

Posted May 16 2009 12:00am

Studies predict that India will be the global diabetes capital by 2050 if the abdominal and lower limb obesity and metabolic syndrome are not arrested. Alarmed by reports, the Health Ministry has reduced the cut-off for body mass index (BMI) to 23 kg/m2 to fight the battle against obesity. If your BMI is over 23 kg/m2, then you are considered obese. The global standard for BMI is 25 kg/m2. So, someone considered not-obese by most international standards, might be obese in India!

BMI is the ratio of the body weight in kg versus height in m2. Understand how to find your BMI here. We think its wrong to judge obesity by BMI- read here to understand why.

The guidelines were released jointly by the Health Ministry, the Diabetes Foundation of India, the All-India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research, the National Institute of Nutrition and 20 other health organisations- Those with BMI of 25 kg/m2 will be clinically termed obese (as opposed to 30 kg/m2 at the international level) and those with BMI of 32.5 kg/m2 will require bariatric surgery to eliminate excess flab.

Along with the BMI guidelines, they have also released guidelines cut-offs for waist measurement at 90 cm for Indian men (as opposed to 102 cm globally) and 80 cm for Indian women (as opposed to 88 cm at the international level).

“The Indian body composition puts them in high risk for diabetes and hypertension (read more here). The guidelines—with revised statistics—will benefit the additional 15-20 per cent (60-80 million) of the Indian population who can now be clinically termed obese under the revised measurements,” Anoop Mishra, director and head, department of diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospitals, New Delhi and Noida, said releasing the guidelines.

The study says one in every three Indians has high triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels and 30-70 per cent has low levels of HDL (good cholesterol). For every 10 extra kilograms above the stipulated body weight (measured according to height), life expectancy of a person reduces by three years- the report said.

By the new obesity guidelines, every second person in Delhi fulfills the criteria of obesity or has excess abdominal fat and nearly one-fourth of the adolescent population in the capital has Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome, that heralds the onset of heart diseases and diabetes.

So, what are planning to do, to avoid obesity?

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