In the last decade, obesity has increased manifold in JK, with as many as very third woman and every fifth man falling in over-weight category, as per the recently released Union Ministry of Health report that documents the status of populations' health, state wise, every decade.
National Family Health Survey 4 2015-16 (NFHS 4) report released on March 1 reveals that percentage of obese or overweight men and women aged between 15 to 49 years in JK increased drastically in the last ten years. Measuring nutritional status, the report puts the percentage of women with Body-Mass Index (BMI) equal to or over 25 at 29.1 percent. This percentage translates into one in about every three women in JK having body weight index that falls in overweight or obese category.
The percentage of men having BMI equal to or greater than 25 is lesser than that of women and stood at 20.5 percent when the data was collected for the survey. However, the rise in percentage of obese men has been more steep compared to women and has multiplied three times in a decade. The last NFHS Survey carried out in 2005-06 (NFHS 3), had put the percentage of obese men at 6.2 (15-49 years). At that time point, the percentage of obese women stood at 16.7 percent.
There is also a huge difference between rural and urban populace vis-à-vis obesity. While the percentage of obese women in rural areas was 24.1 percent, in urban areas, the percentage was 40.6. For men also, the percentage of obese in urban areas was 30.1 percent, double than 15.8, what it stood in rural areas.
The survey for the first time has also measured the "fall-outs" of obesity in terms of blood sugar level and hypertension. Among women, aged between 15-49 years, the percentage with blood sugar levels high or very high (greater than 140) was 8 percent. 9.1 percent men between this age group had high or very high blood sugar levels.
Measurements of Hypertension by NFHS in the study population defined as "Systolic 140-159 mm of Hg and/or Diastolic 90-99 mm of Hg" and above, revealed that 11.6 had hypertension, mild, moderately high and very high. In men, this percentage was 13.7 percent.
The survey findings bring to the fore the rising incidence of obesity in JK and the "life-style diseases" linked to it. Doctors have for long stressed the need for awareness and education about obesity and its fallouts.
NFHS is an extensive statistical exercise by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare carried out by International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai and provides information on population, health and nutrition for India and each State / Union territory. Figures for JK were released in the Phase II of the survey, along with many other states'. In JK, data collection exercise was carried out between January 31, 2016 and November 16, 2016.