ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Insights on Overweight and Obesity

India is in the midst of an epidemiological transition, whereby poverty-linked infectious, maternal and nutritional diseases exist in conjunction with non-communicable chronic illnesses. This transition is driven by rapid economic development within which people eat, move, work, and live differently than before. This analysis of the third and fourth rounds of the National Family Health Survey demonstrates that non-communicable diseases, and their risk factors are undergoing a reversal of the social gradient and are moving down the socio-economic ladder into lower-income populations.

In recent years, India’s liberalised economy has spurred rapid diet and lifestyle changes and propelled a swift epidemiological transition, whereby the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now account for a majority of deaths in India (WHO 2015). However, while India’s burden of chronic disease is severe and growing, 31% of the population still lives on less than ₹123.16 ($1.90) a day and 58% people live on less than ₹200.94 ($3.10) a day (World Bank 2015). Clearly, India still faces major challenges of pervasive poverty, resulting in a high burden of pre-transitional infectious and nutritional diseases. As such, India’s “double burden of disease” advances challenging questions in terms of how to allocate resources between acute and chronic care.

Thus far, in order to prioritise the needs of the majority poor population, an emphasis has rightly been given to infectious diseases, undernourishment, maternal and child health issues as well as diarrhoeal diseases. Meanwhile, the cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and other NCDs, viewed as the purview of the urban rich, have not been given a public health priority. However, it is understood that the NCDs and their risk factors are increasingly prevalent throughout all strata of society (Deepa et al 2011; Gupta et al 2010; Jeemon et al 2011; Pednekar et al 2011).

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Updated On : 11th Dec, 2017
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