Sunday, 3 August 2008

Andhra Pradesh declares war against obesity


August 3, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 2: The State government is now on a novel mission: To discourage people from overeating.
The Civil Supplies Department has been entrusted with the task of taking up a massive campaign all over the State to discourage people from eating more than what's required to keep the body hale and healthy.
A five-member committee on nutrition set up by the State government has recommended that people should get adequate nutrition. While the malnourished will be asked to eat more, the well-to-do will be told to eat less. The State government has decided to earmark a part of its annual budget for the awareness campaign. It has also sought the help of the National Institute of Nutrition for the programme.
"Irregular diets are leading to overweight problems such as obesity. Obesity in our state and country today is still below 10 per cent and within manageable limits. Any laxity and business as usual approach today is a sure recipe for future nutritional disaster as is faced in western societies, especially in USA," Civil Supplies Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah said in a circular issued by her.
The department also proposes to set up a special wing to counter overeating and its related problem of obesity and overweight. Though there are no government statistics on the number of obese people in the State, nutritionists and paediatrician point out that the problem is fast afflicting children. According to medical records, the problem is expected to increase to 60 per cent in the next 10 years in Andhra
Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh ranks fifth in the country in terms of obese population. According to senior surgeon Dr TN Rao, obesity is fast assuming an epidemic proportion leading to a number of health problems including cardiac arrest and brain stroke.
The Committee recommended that government should earmark certain funds every year under the state budget to generate awareness on the need of balanced nutritional diet for the benefit of moderately and severely undernourished sections of population. Appropriate messages in local language with pictures may be disseminated through the vast network of PDS shops.

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