How Coimbatore is tackling the city’s worrying degree of women obesity

A treadmill test at AGs Master Healthcare Check Up Centre in Coimbatore

“Did you know that every fourth woman in Coimbatore is prone to diabetes?” asks Dr Adityan Guhan, a diabetologist in the city, quoting the National Health Survey report 2021 (fifth edition). “It’s a worrying trend,” he adds. As for the nutritional status of women in the age group of 15 to 49, the findings further indicate that about 50% of them are overweight or obese with a BMI exceeding 25.

Sedentary lifestyle

“Every second women is obese. And, their blood sugar levels are on the higher side. Women, especially homemakers in urban areas, have erratic food habits. Most homes have domestic help and cooks, and meal times are often an elaborate affair. A sedentary lifestyle makes it worse,” explains Dr Guhan, director of AGs Healthcare.

He reveals that diabetes has skipped one generation.

Dr Adityan Guhan explaining the newly-launched website on diabetes

Dr Adityan Guhan explaining the newly-launched website on diabetes

“A few decades ago, women above 50 were turning diabetic. Now, it is those in their 30s and 40s. This leads to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), weight gain and irregularities in menstrual cycle.”

Dr Praveen Raj, head of the department of bariartic surgery, Gem Hospital, says according to statistics, women are more obese than men, not just in India, but around the world. “It stems from a lack of awareness on weight gain during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. By the time they realise it they have gained weight, the body is already metabolically adapted to it,” he explains.

Fitness goals

Dr Praveen says though cities like Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Madurai and Erode fall in the same spectrum, people in Coimbatore seem more keen to lose weight. “Of every 10 patients I see every day, eight are women who fall in the age group of 25 to 45. Weight loss cannot be one’s short-term goal. There is no magic diet that fits all. Be it the GM, Meditteranean, keto or paleo, or intermittent fasting, diet routines keep evolving. Eat right every day and stick to a sustainable diet plan,” he advises.

Also Read | Paediatricians see worrying trend in children due to pandemic

A meal plan where you replace rice (simple carbs) with fibre-rich millets (complex carbs) is a good way to begin, recommends fitness expert L Reshma, centre head of Pink Fitness.

Log on for help

  • An exclusive website launched by AGs Healthcare for diabetics in the city packs educative material in English and Tamil (in the form of sideshow as well as voice mode) and gives updates on latest studies on diabetes from across the world. “A unique feature is the SOS button which users can press when their sugar level drops. It is immediately connected to the mobile number of the doctor. A rescue team reaches home to give first aid,” says Adityan Guhan. Meal plans and diabetic-friendly recipes can be downloaded.
  • A seven-second diabetes risk score calculates the risks and recommends lifestyle changes or meeting a physician.
  • To know more, call : 99436-65556

“We ask people to moderate portions of rice and increase protein intake. Restrict calorie intake to under 1800, and follow a weight loss plan recommended by dieticians. A balanced, nutritious diet rich in micro and macro nutrients, staying hydrated since water is essential for skin and hair care and muscle flexibility, being physically active, and reducing sugar and salt are vital.”

Stay motivated

Fitness is a step-by-step journey, says fitness coach Ratheesh Kumar R who made it to the International Book of World Records for doing the maximum push ups (with one leg raised and balancing weight on his back) in 30 seconds. “First, become an early riser, then progress to a brisk walk, run and jog. Self-motivation is the key.”

Ajit Shetty of Score gyms in Chennai says that people have a strong interest in fitness.

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“A simple blood test helped one of my clients identify her Vitamin D deficiency that prevented her from losing weight. A master health check up is a prerequisite. Eat whenever your body demands.”

A vicious cycle

While obesity and insulin resistance is a vicious cycle, Dr Adityan admits that making the switch to a healthy lifestyle helps. “But before that, a master health check up is recommended. Of the the 600 people (on home quarantine) whom we treated for COVID-19 we found that 30% (in the 35 to 45 years category) were diabetic and not even aware of it. Anyone above 30 should go in for a master health check up to take stock of their health. This way, we are saving a family.”

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