More teenagers obese due to lifestyle changes

Infertility rises among overweight women in their 20s

Obese women are at a higher risk of developing breast and uterine cancer, said doctors on World Obesity Day on Sunday.

With lifestyle changes, gradually more teenagers are falling prey to obesity.  Cancer is one of the diseases that is triggered by obesity. Other related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, kidney ailments, and infertility are also on the rise because of increasing obesity cases.

It has been established in medical literature that there is a co-relation between cancer and obesity, said experts.

“In 2001, 14 per cent of schoolchildren suffered from obesity. In 2013, around 38 per cent of schoolgoing children suffer from this disease. This is primarily because of the fast food culture that is catching up,” said Dr Praveen Bhatia, Chairperson, Bariatric Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

With more adolescent suffering from weight issues, women in their 20s are also suffering from infertility. These women often develop polycystic ovary – a condition in which suffer from hormonal imbalance.

“This is why we always suggest to shed weight early in life. Otherwise obesity leads to infertility. Nowadays we are getting several young patients, both men and women, who are suffering from diabetes, hypertension, orthopaedic problems and even heart problems because of the weight issue,” said Dr Bhatia.

People seeking help

Currently, more and more young people are seeking help to be treated for obesity. One of the primary reasons is increasing awareness on the issue, said experts.

“A few years back, we mostly got patients who were in the age-group of between 40 and 60 years. But now most patients fall in the age bracket of 20-40 years,” said Dr Atul Peters, Director, Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery, Fortis Hospital.

“There has been at least 60 per cent increase in this category. Working parents often order food for children instead of providing homemade food. Also, the portion size is changing. For example, there are three options of milkshake – small, medium, large – available now which is contributing to the dietary habits,” Dr Peters said.

“Saturated fat also comes easy these days. A big bowl of salad is any day more expensive than junk. Also, there is little exercise among children,” he added.

As a corrective measure, more people are now opting for bariatric surgery. One type of such surgery is only to ensure weight loss.

Without weight loss, there is no point in conducting surgeries for osteoarthritis knee joint pain, as there would be recurrence of the disease.

The other two types include surgery for weight loss and other related diseases and surgery only for diabetes.

“The overall awareness level has increased. In 2001, there were 300 bariatric surgeries all over India. However, in 2013, there were over 10,000 surgeries conducted in the country,” said Dr Bhatia.    

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