According to the latest study by the United Nations Organisation, more than half of the women in Pakistan are overweight.
This is dangerous because obesity is one of the deadliest conditions which is often found to be the root cause of other health issues.
“It would not be wrong if we say that obesity or being overweight is the mother of several diseases,” he said. “Obesity is known to cause 23 different diseases. From hypertension to diabetes and from cardiac issues to arthritis, there are a number of diseases which one develops mainly due to obesity. It’s a disease we usually invite through our lifestyle and casual approach. Better lifestyle and a healthy diet can help you prevent obesity and diseases linked to it.” -Prof Abdul Basit, IDF Diabetes Atlas Committee Pakistan member.
Officials and experts who helped compile the report about a recent survey conducted by the Pakistan Health Research Council said the new data showed alarming trends in society, where adults and children were fast becoming patients of obesity-linked diseases.
“In the countrywide study two cutoffs were put as standards by the experts,” said a source citing findings of the study.
“According to the WHO [World Health Organisation] 58.1% of people of Pakistan are overweight and 43.9% of the population is suffering from obesity. Similarly, according to the Asian cutoffs, 72.3% people of in Pakistan are overweight and 58.1% of the population is suffering from obesity. These are fresh figures suggesting an alarming trend.”
Health professionals are claiming that this study is a ‘wakeup call’ for the entire country and has advised all households to adopt a healthier lifestyle and healthier diet.
“And most alarmingly, we are seeing these trends in the children,” said Dr Musarrat Riaz of Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology, who assisted the PHRC in the recent study on overweight and obesity.
“If we talk about the trend, there is no urban-rural divide. It’s the same in every segment of society with people from different backgrounds. But at the same time, we have seen a kind of rise of awareness among the people on these issues [overweight and obesity] but we need to do a lot more individually collectively.”
The WHO representative to Pakistan, Dr. Palitha Mahipala shared that if governments do not take immediate action to promote more physical exercise among their populations, nearly 500 million people will succumb to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or NCDs (Noncommunicable Diseases) because of physical inactivity in the coming decade, which will cost them $27 billion.