The study measured obesity based on BMI ( body mass index) — body weight divided by the square of height. If obesity is measured as percentage body fat, close to 85 per cent of the population would qualify as obese, according to the study carried out by scientists from India and the US. The study involved 459 people — 217 men and 242 women — with an average age of 42 years.
Besides BMI, researchers measured waist size, blood glucose, percentage body fat, total abdominal fat, fat tissue in abdomen or intra- abdominal adipose tissue. As high as 50.1 per cent of the people were obese based on their BMI. The study also found high abdominal obesity as indicated by various parameters such as waist size, Close to 69 per cent people were found to have larger than adequate waist size while close of 71 per cent had high fat in their abdomen.
“ Body fat is a true indicator of obesity but requires expensive apparatus to measure it. It is an accepted measure but BMI is used to measure obesity due to its simplicity,” said Anoop Misra of National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Diseases Foundation, lead author scientist of the study published in journal PLoS One.
Over 45 per cent people had risk factors or metabolic syndrome which predispose them to development of diabetes and heart disease.
Approximately nine per cent of people suffered from diabetes and about 29 per cent had high blood pressure. The study also found high abdominal obesity as indicated by various parameters such as waist size, abdominal fat and intra- abdominal adipose tissue.
“The data is glaring and worrying. High prevalence of generalised obesity and abdominal obesity in urban Asian Indians in north India need immediate public health intervention,” Misra pointed out.
The high percentage of people with abdominal obesity is also a matter of concern because such obesity is associated with risk of diseases, scientists said.
The prevalence of abdominal obesity in Delhi — 70 — is higher than in urban population of Chennai at 46.6 per cent.
Women were found to be more obese at waist at close to 75 per cent than man at around 62 per cent.
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity are linked to sedentary lifestyles and lack of physical inactivity.