Obesity assuming alarming proportion | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Obesity assuming alarming proportion

KARACHI – Obesity, attributed as the major contributory factor for all Diabetes Type Two cases in Pakistan, is itself assuming alarming proportions among the local youth due to sedentary life style and unhealthy dietary pattern. Speakers addressing a workshop “Fight Obesity and Prevent Diabetes”, held under the aegis of Pakistan Press Foundation in Karachi on November 11, also referred to other obesity-induced health conditions ranging from coronary heart disease, cancers, hypertension, arthritis, infertility to depression.

Non-communicable disease forms around 31 percent of the burden of disease in Pakistan – surveys initiated in collaboration with WHO estimate diabetes prevalence among 16 percent of local adults with another nine percent of them inflicted with impaired glucose tolerance.

This is in a situation where experts claim that some 36 percent of diabetics do not refer to qualified professionals or hospitals lest are exposed to severe complications again ranging from retinopathy (eye), diabetic neuropathy to coronary problems and renal complications.

WHO Provincial Operations Officer for Sindh Dr G.N. Kazi, In charge Diabetes Clinic, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center, Dr Sohail Marfani, Dr Wakeel Abidi of Pakistan Diabetic Association and Research Associate – Diet and Nutrition, Aga Khan Hospital Ms. Ayesha Zahid Khan, made their respective presentations at the session organised as part of World Diabetes Day, observed on November 14 each year.

Dr G.N. Kazi in his presentation defined Diabetes Mellitus a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism characterised by high blood glucose level and glycosuria resulting from dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells and insulin resistance.

Major approaches: It was stated that as fat cells hamper efficacy of pancreas insulin resistance is registered more commonly among obese individuals ultimately exposing them to Diabetes Type Two. In the given backdrop it was recommended that drugs, diet and changes in lifestyle are the major approaches used for the treatment and control of Diabetes Mellitus.

Referring to obesity as a state of excessive fat, the speaker also mentioned that any individual weighing 20 percent more than the desired weight could be identified as obese. And that nutrition care counselling and non-pharmacological interventions can manage and prevent chronic diseases.

The WHO co-ordinator warned that without effective prevention and control programmes, diabetes will increase globally to 366 million by 2030 and that the ailment is currently the most common non-communicable disease globally and the fourth leading cause of death in most developed countries.

It was regretted that epidemiological studies suggest that many governments and public health planners remain unaware of the current magnitude of the problem. Dr Kazi further mentioned that diabetes is established to be a costly diseases as Type Two Diabetes accounted for between three percent to six percent of total health expenditure in eight European countries.

In Pakistan where the total expenditure made under the head of health sector constitutes a mere 0.8 percent of the GNP it was only recently that an action plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases has been launched, expected to pave way for effectively managing diabetes and substantially reducing risk of developing complications.

Dr Sohail Marfani in his presentation discussed three different types of diabetes and said that Type One is registered among children due to non-production of insulin and Type Two diabetes among adults due to insulin resistance.

He said Type Three Diabetes is caused as a consequence to different diseases and drug intake.

Reminding that obesity is itself a health problem, the speaker dispelled the impression that this could not be controlled and prevented.

According to him, there are estimated eight million obese people in the country while another three million of them are identified to be clinically obese – while obesity can reduce life expectancy of individuals by eight years.

“About 80 percent of individuals are over weight when diagnosed with diabetes,” Dr Marfani said mentioning that increase of weight by one kilogram increases risk for obesity by five percent.

He reminded that 58 percent reduction in the incidence of diabetes occur when intervention comprises medication along with life style modification.

The speaker stressed due realisation on part of masses that obesity itself is a disease.

Nutritionist Ayesha Zahid Khan in her presentation referred to rising incidence of obesity among local women, particularly city-based ladies.

She quoted a study showing almost equal prevalence of over weight among children pertaining to upper strata and less privileged segments of the society.

The Karachi-based study, conducted by Dr Badarunisa of Aga Khan Hospital, showed that girl child (aged between five to 19 years) registered with private schools had 32 percent obesity prevalence compared to 30 percent in their counterparts enrolled at government schools.

As for boys, it was 27 percent among those registered with private schools and 22 percent at government schools.

According to her the trend noticed among kids and youth as well as growing prevalence of the health condition among people in general enhances urgency to contain the trend through modification in behaviour with particular reference to healthy diet and increased physical activity.

Dr Vakil Abidi stressed for due consideration towards pregnant women so that babies with normal weight are borne to them and not underweight as the latter have more chances to be inflicted with diabetes as they grow up.

Source: Business Recorder