Malady not just of the rich

Once thought as a malady of the rich, obesity and diabetes are now on the rise in the slums, a recent study by Anoop Misra of the department of medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has shown.

In what can only be termed as a startling revelation, the study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, noted that the prevalence of obesity and diabetes was higher in slums than that reported from rural population and equal or even more than that observed in urban population in other studies. The study says that 11 per cent of the slum population suffered from diabetes and more than 13 per cent were obese. More than a third of the population over 30 years of age had abdominal complications and heart diseases. The study also reveals that in about 27 per cent of the slum dwellers, cholestrol level was high and with advancing age, the body fat increased. The study pinned the possible reason for this to changes in lifestyle and environment of the slum people, who are largely migrants from villages to the big cities. Their diet pattern changes, with more saturated fats and less fibre being consumed. As against long hours in the fields, the nature of their work in cities pushes them into a sedentary lifestyle.

"High prevalence of obesity and raised fat content represents enhanced risk for deposition of fat in blood vessels which at a later stage may lead to heart diseases and even heart attack,' warns Misra.

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