Zee Media Bureau
London: A recent report has debunked the idea that obesity is a problem generally associated with relatively richer Western countries. Middle-income countries like India also add to this severe problem and are now at the heart of a "fat explosion".
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), found that Indians form a massive chunk of the one in three adults now overweight or obese, adding up to 1.46 billion across the world.
This report titled "Future Diets",selected five middle-income countries - India, China, Egypt, Peru and Thailand to exemplify the dietary trends in the developing world over the past 50 years.
The analysis revealed that between 1980 and 2008, those affected in the developing world by obesity had tripled, from 250 million to 904 million.
The percentage of obese and overweight in India rose from about 9 per cent of the population in 1980 to 11 per cent in 2008.
"India's consumption of animal products is approaching that of China's in terms of its contribution to the average plate, but here the increase is almost entirely in milk consumption, with only limited increases for meat," the report said.
According to the ODI analysis: "Policies to improve diets have been rather timid, with some significant exceptions such as the public distribution system of India or rationing in wartime UK.
It stressed that decisive government intervention will become an inevitability in future to encourage people to eat healthier.
Obesity is major health hazard and is linked to several serious medical conditions like cancers, diabetes, heart diseases and strokes.