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You are not alone to blame; your changing environment is equally to blame for your obesity: Learn about the many risk factors of obesity


You are not alone to blame; your changing environment is equally to blame for your obesity: Learn about the many risk factors of obesity


There is worldwide rise in obesity, which may not be due to sudden loss of willpower. Instead, weight gain could be a consequence of our adaptive behavior to our fastpaced changing environmentWe may be trying hard to shed the weight, but many of us are not aware that there are many factors that have a role to play in obesity. 

Obesity: Triggers all around Us 

Obesity is often attributed to modern lifestyle. Lifestyle in a broader sense, however, ignores larger social, economic, and environmental factors and unintentionally blames the people who are obese.1

We may be living today in an obesogenic environment, simply understood as an environment that increases our chances of becoming obesesuch as easy availability of unhealthy food and few opportunities for physical recreational activities.1  

However, obesity is much more complex. Ione would list the different contributory factors, it could be summarized in an acronym, namely NASTIE ODOURS1: 

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Obesity is a rising health issue in India 

Overweight and obesity are posing a growing threat to the health of the people of India in both urban and rural areas. This is because with increasing industrialization and urbanization which results in weight gain. This is evident in studies reporting overweight/obesity among men and women in India to have doubled in the last 2 decades from 1998–1999 to 2015–2016.2

 The prevalence of overweight and obesity in India is increasing faster than the global average.3 India is reported to be positioned as the third amongst the countries having the highest rates of obesity, with a prevalence of 20% amongst adults and 11% amongst adolescents. If not controlled, obesity may turn into an impending epidemic.4

Health complications due to obesity 

Obesity is influenced by several other factors besides the environment, thus becoming a medical problem leading to other major health disorders1,4,5

Indians are more susceptible to cardiometabolic effects of obesity because6: 

  1. although Indians have lower BMIs than Caucasians do, the percentage of body fat is much higher in Indians 
  2. central adiposity is common in Indians 
  3. Asians have excessive insulin resistance.

Obesity is typically defined as excess body weight for height, but biologically it may be explained to be associated with excess fat tissue (adiposity) or body fatness, which can manifest as other health conditions and not just in terms of body size. Obesity increases the risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.7 

Obesity: A medical condition 

Leading scientists agree that people who struggle with excess weight might in fact be living with obesity, which is a chronic disease.1 What if despite all of your past efforts, you’ve never actually been treated for this condition? And the attempts in the past that have focused around eating less and moving more have not been successful? COVID-19 has created a greater need to rethink how we should think about obesity and take steps to manage it. 

 Just like many other chronic diseases, obesity develops over a period of time. To effectively manage obesity, the first step is to identify the role-playing causes. These causes will vary from person to person. Afterall, obesity management is about treatment approaches that improve health and quality of life more than just resulting in losing some weight.1 Seeking an expert’s opinion and taking professional advice could help set us in the right path to reach our health goals. 



  1. Egger G, Dixon J. Beyond obesity and lifestyle: review of 21st century chronic disease determinants. Biomed Res Int2014;2014:731685. 
  2. Shannawaz M, Arokiasamy P. Overweight/obesity: An emerging epidemic in IndiaJ Clin Diagn Res2018 Nov. 12(11):LC01-LC05. 
  3. Luhar S, Timæus IM, Jones R, et al. Forecasting the prevalence of overweight and obesity in India to 2040. PLoS One. 2020 Feb 24;15(2):e0229438.  
  4. Mukhra R, Kaur T, Krishan K, Kanchan T. Overweight and obesity: A major concern for health in India. Clin Ter. 2018 Sep-Oct;169(5):e199-e201. 
  5. Obesity Action Coalition. Understanding your weight and health: Causes of obesity. [Internet] [cited 2021 Feb 18]. Available from: https://www.obesityaction.org/get-educated/understanding-your-weight-and-health/causes-of-obesity/. 
  6. Khandelwal S, Reddy KS. Eliciting a policy response for the rising epidemic of overweight-obesity in India. Obes Rev. 2013 Nov;14 Suppl 2:114-125. 
  7. Hruby A, Hu FB. The epidemiology of obesity: A big picture. Pharmacoeconomics. 2015 Jul;33(7):673-689.  

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