The proportion of obese or over-weight people in India has almost doubled in the last 10 years, whereas incidence of diabetes and hypertension are fast increasing in the country, data from the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) shows.
The data shows 39.3% Indians were overweight and obese in 2014-15, whereas around 21% were obese in 2004-05. The survey conducted across 26 states and Union Territories found that obesity was more common among women than in men. While 20.7% of women were obese in 2014-15, 18.6% men were suffering from the disorder.
The overall incidence of diabetes was 20.3% and that of hypertension 22.2%. However, there was some overlapping in the data with some people suffering from both or falling under two different sub-categories.
This is the first time the government has conducted a survey to find out the incidence of diabetes and hypertension.
Experts said the rising number of overweight people, particularly those prone to diabetes, was a cause of concern.
In an effort to curb the growing incidence of obesity, diabetes and hypertension in India, the government is planning stringent measures including higher taxes and stricter advertisement norms to regulate sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food in the country. The health ministry and the central food safety regulator are working on a detailed proposal to curtail increasing consumption of unhealthy food and beverages, mainly among children, leading to a burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also recommended stringent packaging norms for packaged junk food and beverages including soft drinks, energy drinks and other sugar sweetened beverages.
While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been asked to look at the packaging related issues of such products, the ministry is also evaluating imposing restrictions on endorsement and advertisement of such products, mainly during prime time.