New Delhi: Women in India are facing a severe problem of weight extremes with the obese getting fatter and the undernourished thinner, according to a new study that says this poses a "major challenge" to the government which should frame policies to address these health issues.The study, "Change in the Body Mass Index Distribution for Women: Analysis of Surveys from 37 Low- and Middle-Income Countries", by the University of Toronto and the Harvard School of Public Health found that women of average weight are disappearing in India and the country sees more underweight women than obese ones."The study is novel because for the first time we are showing that increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) is not happening equally across the board," S. V. Subramanian, professor of Population Health and Geography at the Harvard School of Public Health, said. "Obese and overweight people are gaining weight rapidly in low-and middle-income countries, including India, while those who are severely undernourished are not experiencing similar weight gains," said Subramanian, the senior author of the study."Increases in average BMI are largely driven by populations that are already overweight or obese, with little to no change among underweight individuals," he said.The study shows a persistent problem of underweight in India, with about 25 percent of the population being underweight in 2005, and at the same time the percentage of women who are obese has doubled.
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