As per the report published by Lancet, the total number of children, adolescents and adults worldwide living with obesity has surpassed one billion.

Key Highlights of the rising Obesity curve:

  • Obesity rates among children and adolescents worldwide increased four times from 1990 to 2022,  whereas the obesity rates among adults have more than doubled.
  • In India, the obesity rate increased from 0.1% in 1990 to 3.1% in 2022 for girls, and 0.1% to 3.9%, for boys. 
  • In women, the obesity rate increased from 1.2% in 1990 to 9.8% in 2022 and in men from 0.5% to 5.4%.
  • In the prevalence of obesity category for girls and boys, India ranked 174th highest in the world in 2022.


According to WHO, Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI, formerly called the Quetelet index, is a measure for indicating nutritional status in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in metres (kg/m2).

Causes of Obesity:

  • A shift in dietary choices away from traditional foods and physical inactivity.
  • Consuming extra calories, especially those found in fatty and sugary foods.
  • Modern lifestyles such as spending a lot of time sitting, whether at computers, on couches, or in cars.

Impact of Obesity:

  • Obesity is both a chronic disease in its own right and a primary contributor to other leading chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and Stroke.
  • Obese individuals often face social stigma, low self-esteem, and depression. Body image concerns can affect mental health.
  • Mobility limitations, fatigue, and discomfort impact daily life. Simple tasks become challenging.
  • Obesity-related healthcare costs strain healthcare systems and individual finances.
  • Discrimination and bias can lead to social exclusion.
  • Food production, transportation, and waste disposal related to obesity contribute to environmental issues.

Initiative to deal with Obesity:

  • Fit India movement implemented by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for increasing public awareness for promotion of healthy lifestyle.
  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS) initiative to assessed abdominal obesity through waist circumference.
  • World Obesity Day (4th March) is an annual global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the challenges posed by obesity. 
  • Food Safety and Standard Authority of India: FSSAI has implemented new rules and campaigns such as “Eat Right” and many more. The FSSAI is carrying out actions at many levels to address the junk food issue in school premises/canteens, which is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. 
  • ICDS program:  This in a programme for additional nutrition, only caloric values of the foods are examined, not food quality, which is a key factor of a balanced diet. 


The report advocates for creating a Framework Convention on Food Systems (FCS) to limit the food industry’s impact on policy decisions and to galvanize national efforts toward healthier, fairer, and more sustainable food systems.

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