Article written by :Sabarnita
Subarnita Mukherjee
Senior Dietitian
M.sc in Dietetics and Community Nutrition Management (V.U.)
Certified Diabetic Educator

Obesity is a major public health problem and is gradually taking a shape of an epidemic in both developed and developing countries. It can be described as the “New World Syndrome”.

Obesity is defined as a condition of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue, to the extent that may impair health. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple and commonly used parameter for obesity.


Obesity is a complex multi factorial chronic disease developing from interactive influences of numerous factors.

  • When diet tends to be rich in fat and contains excess
  • People with desk jobs and having sedentary lifestyle, tends to get obese easily.
  • Genetic inheritance probably influences50-70% a person’s chance to becoming fat.
  • Lack of sleep, it can have an impact on the hormones which might trigger hunger signals. This can be a cause of obes
  • There are several hormonal changes which are known to be direct causes of obesity.

Obesity increases the risk of developing several potentially serious health problems, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, and liver)
  • Sleep apnoea
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Infertility or irregular periods

Besides its physical consequences, emotional factors like depression, feelings of social isolation can also contribute to obesity.


20 kcal/kg body weight is prescribed for a sedentary worker.

  • 0 .8-1 gm of protein / kg ideal body weight is prescribed for tissue repair and specific dynamic action. Protein item includes pulses, soybean, dairy products, fish, egg, lean meat.
  • Complex carbohydrate like whole grains should be included in the diet simple carbohydrate like sugar, honey, jaggery etc should be avoided. Potato and rice are restricted.
  • Low fat diet is advised, saturated fat like nuts and ghee, butter, cheese etc should be avoided
  • Fruits and vegetables should be taken liberally which provides vitamins and minerals.
  • Fluids should be taken liberally, also a glass of water when consumed before meals cut down food intake.
  • High fibre like green leafy vegetables, fruits, salads, whole grains can be included in the diet.
  • Carbonated beverages, canned juice etc should be avoided.
  • Skipping a meal is not a solution to cut down calories. It backfires when hunger comes raging back often leading to overeating.
  • Choosing smaller portions and slow eating is encouraged, thereby avoiding overeating. Limiting distractions like turning off’ the television, computer, or Smartphone-can also help us focus on the food.
  • Homemade food is advisable. Fast-food, restaurant meals, should be strictly avoided.

The ideal way of reducing weight is to spend more calories than the intake. Exercise is the only way of spending calories which reduces body fat and increases the muscle mass. If we take these necessary steps and change our lifestyle, we can alter this situation and lead a long and healthy life.

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