People around you may love your chubby looks. Or, they may make jokes about it which you may love. Or, may be you think you look cute with those tubby cheeks and that flab here and there on your body.
But take care. Chances are doctors will categorize you as obese or going to be one. And it is not about the jokes people make about you. It is about a serious disease.
Doctors say obesity hits mostly youth. And once it sets in, it can have serious medical implications.
I spoke to DrHardeep Singh, Professor of Internal medicine at GMC Srinagar, about this condition in Kashmir and what he tells me is alarming. “I receive many cases of obesity and this can easily become pandemic,” saysDrHardeep.
Although the causes of obesity are complex, DrHardeep believes the couch potato life style among youth in Kashmir is a top reason. “Youth these days have minimal physical activity. They stay glued to computers and cell phones and hardly move outside to play. Tuitions and availability of bikes and cars also adds to the problem,” says Dr. Hardeep.
He counts excessive non-veg consumption, junk food, a long winter and smoking as other causes behind obesity in Kashmir. DrHardeep particularly sounds off smoking as a big culprit in obesity and obesity related diseases. Research also shows that smokers tend to have more body weight than non-smokers.
And if you are obese like your parents or grandparents then there isn’t much you can do about it because in that case this is genetic. But there is good news also. Genetic obesity occurs in a very small population.
Obesity puts young people at a multiple risks. Decrease in their productivity is just the beginning. The health risks are scaring, research shows. Heart diseases, bone and joint problems and Type 2 diabetes are pretty common among obese people.
“Obesity in youth leads to heart ailments before the age of thirty which in turn increase chances of fatality,” warns Dr Hardeep. He adds obese people are at greater risk of developing hypertension. “In their bodies the good lipids decrease and the bad lipids increase leading to increased risks of heart attacks.”
Apart from cardiac ailments, obesity exposes youth to another medical condition-- fatty liver. DrHardeep feels that in the near future fatty liver will be the major cause of liver cirrhosis, even bigger than alcohol. “In Kashmir cases of fatty liver across all age groups are rapidly increasing.”
So how can you know that you are obese or getting there? Well, obesity is measured by BMI – body mass index. BMI is computed by correlating your weight with height. And you can find your BMI simply by entering your weight and height on several online sites. A BMI of more than 30 means you are obese. So check out.
Obesity in teenage girls can lead to another serious medical complication-- poly cystic ovarian syndrome. This, if left untreated, can trigger other problems.
Scared? So let’s look at some remedies. Dr. Hardeep feels there have to be changes in life style. Walking can be a life saviour. “You need to walk every day for an hour and within a month you will notice the change.”
Controlling and rationing your diet is also crucial. Cut down on red meat, increase intake of fruits and vegetables, throw the junk food out of your diet, slash sugar intake and all those sweetie, sweetie things.
DrHardeep says parents can chip in with help. “Parents need to actively participate in their childrens’ life and monitor what they eat and how they live. They need to motivate their kids to be more physically active especially in winter.”
So go and take a long walk. Or join the gym for a workout. Dieticians can also help you with a diet plan to cut that flab around your tummy and hips.
And if you are a smoker just throw that fag away—now, and for good. And before it throws you into a hospital.