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March 6 @ 7:00 am - 11:00 pm


A recent study published in The Lancet, conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) in collaboration with the World Health Organization, has highlighted the concerning rise in obesity rates among children, adolescents, and adults worldwide. This study offers crucial insights into the prevalence of obesity and underweight, shedding light on the global health crisis.

Key Highlights of the Study:

India’s Statistics:

  • Obesity: The study revealed a significant increase in obesity rates among Indian children and adults from 1990 to 2022.
  • In 2022, 12.5 million children aged 5-19 were classified as obese, with a notable increase from 0.4 million in 1990.
  • Prevalence of obesity among women increased from 1.2% to 9.8%, and among men from 0.5% to 5.4% during the same period.
  • Undernutrition: India faces the challenge of a high “double burden” of malnutrition, with 13.7% of women and 12.5% of men being underweight.
  • Thinness prevalence is the highest in Indian girls (20.3%) and second-highest in boys (21.7%).


Global Trends:

  • Over one billion individuals worldwide are living with obesity, with 159 million children and adolescents, and 879 million adults affected in 2022.
  • The prevalence of underweight and obesity has increased in most countries, driven primarily by a rise in obesity rates.
  • South Asia and parts of Africa continue to grapple with prevalent underweight and thinness.
  • Island nations in the Caribbean, Polynesia, and Micronesia, along with countries in the Middle East and North Africa, exhibit the highest combined prevalence of underweight and obesity.

Factors Contributing to Obesity:

  • Women, particularly mothers, face challenges in maintaining healthy lifestyles due to time constraints and prioritization of family nutrition over their own.
  • Unhealthy, cheap junk food availability and insufficient sleep contribute to rising obesity rates, even among lower-income populations in regions like Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Goa.

Understanding Overweight, Thinness, and Obesity:

Body Mass Index (BMI):

  • BMI is a measure of weight-to-height used to classify underweight, overweight, and obesity.
  • Calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters (kg/m²).

Obesity and Overweight:

  • Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation poses health risks.
  • Obesity is a chronic disease resulting from excess calorie storage as fat, associated with various health complications.

Thinness and Underweight:

  • Indicates lower-than-normal body weight relative to height, often due to insufficient calorie intake or health conditions.
  • Underweight individuals face health risks like osteoporosis, anaemia, and increased mortality.

India’s Initiatives Related to Nutrition:

  • Eat Right Mela: Promotes awareness of healthy eating habits and nutrition.
  • Fit India Movement: Encourages physical activity and fitness among Indians.
  • Eat Right Station Certification: Ensures availability of nutritious food at railway stations.
  • Mission Poshan 2.0: Aims to address malnutrition and promote maternal and child health.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: Provides free meals to school children to improve nutrition.
  • Poshan Vatikas: Community gardens promoting the cultivation of nutritious food.
  • Anganwadi and ICDS Scheme: Provides nutrition and healthcare to pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): Provides financial assistance to pregnant women for nutrition and healthcare.

Way Forward:

  • Address obesity and underweight as interconnected health challenges, focusing on holistic interventions.
  • Implement targeted programs such as cash transfers, food assistance, and nutritional interventions to promote healthy nutrition.
  • Prioritize prevention and management of obesity through lifestyle modifications and healthcare interventions.
  • Recognize the urgency of addressing obesity in both children and adults to mitigate long-term health risks.

Mains Question:

  1. To what extent do you agree with the perspective that placing emphasis on the scarcity of food availability as the primary factor behind hunger diverts attention from ineffective human development policies in India? (150 WORDS)


March 6
7:00 am - 11:00 pm
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