By: Zee Media Bureau

Latest figures of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16 indicate that obesity may be the next major health challenge in India.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), one-fifth of Indian women, or 20.7 per cent to be precise, in the age group of 15-49 are overweight.

The country’s most apprehensive health survey also shows that 31.3 percent or almost a third of urban women obese, while 15 per cent of rural women are overweight.

What is shocking is that the overall obesity figure of 20.7 for women is a quantum jump from 12.6 from 2005-06 when the last NFHS was conducted. It is nearly a 60% jump.

Overall, 20.7 per cent women in the country were found to be overweight or obese during NFHS-4 in comparison to 12.6 per cent during the NFHS-3 – a jump of nearly 60 per cent.

The figures are even starker for men with the proportion of overweight men being doubled over the last 10 years. As per the survey, as much as 18.6 per cent of men (15-49 years) are obese – up from 9.3 in 2005-06.

The percentage of men and women who are categorised as overweight or obese, have Body Mass Index (BMI) above 25.0 kg/m2.

Worldwide, obesity has more than doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organisatio (WHO).


Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.

Generally, obesity is caused by sedentary lifestyles – physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and eating habits.

Being obese puts one at a higher risk of developing a number of potentially serious health problems, including – heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breathing disorders, musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis), gallbladder disease, infertility, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, kidney disease and some cancers.

Obesity is preventable. By making healthier choices, such as, following a healthy eating plan and exercising daily can help prevent overweight and obesity.

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