Emerging obesity among married Indian women: role of changing lifestyle and diet
Praween Kumar Agrawal, India HIV/AIDS Alliance
This paper examines the changes in the Body Mass Index (BMI) of married Indian women according to lifestyle and dietary habits by analysing the primary data collected from 325 women (aged 15-49) as a follow-up of 1998-99 NFHS-2 in Delhi. Information on women’s BMI, dietary habits, and sedentary lifestyle was collected through structured questionnaires. There was a significant increase in overweight and obesity among married women in Delhi during 1999 and 2003. Women who were less physically active, who had a sedentary lifestyle, and who frequently consumed sugary and fatty items experienced significant increases in their BMI levels. Sedentary lifestyle emerged as the main predictor of increase in BMI of women in the adjusted multivariate analysis. Attention should be paid to overweight and obesity problems now coexisting with undernutrition in India. Healthy lifestyles and dietary habits should be promoted vigorously to tackle this emerging health threat in India.