Obese India

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Obesity is an increasing problem across the planet and not just in wealthy countries. Increasingly, countries previously thought to be both poor and unaffected by this very modern epidemic are showing signs of morbid obesity. According to the leading medical journal, The Lancet, one in five men and more than one in six women in India are clinically overweight. Traditionally in India being overweight has been seen as a sign of health and wealth.

In the Punjab region, people on the larger side are seen as healthy because historically in India so many people were underweight and were encouraged to put on weight because of the prevalence of undernutrition.

Surgeons at the Max Institute in New Delhi are carrying out three times as many bariatric operations as they did five years ago.

Last year they carried out four hundred operations, including gastric bypasses surgery and the more complicated procedures such as a sleeve gastrectomy. For so many patients, such drastic surgery is regarded as the only effective option when all other attempts at losing weight through diet and exercise have failed.

In India, a gastric band operation costs around $12,000 (£7500) and is funded privately rather than through a national health service. All the signs are that the numbers of surgery will increase as the obesity epidemic continues to grow.

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