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Indian Express
17 Maty 2010

Stressing that obesity is turning into a global epidemic, affecting children, adolescents and adults in both developed and developing nations, on the eve of the World Hypertension Day, experts revisited the health hazards of excessive body weight.

"Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which in turn causes fatal conditions such as stroke, heart failure, weakening and expansion of blood vessels and kidney failure," said Dr NP Singh, senior consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He said obesity was now the world–s worst nutritional problem, causing more ill health and deaths than poverty and infectious diseases.

"Unfortunately, increasing urbanisation, sedentary lifestyle and eagerness to adopt Western ways have resulted in more and more Indians joining the 1.5 billion victims of high blood pressure all over the world," he said.

Doctors also referred to a study conducted in Kolkata, which revealed that in three to six decades, there was a 30 fold increase in hypertension among urban dwellers and a 10–fold increase among rural population. The theme of World Hypertension Day 2010 is Healthy weight, healthy blood pressure, which stresses the need to control both body weight and BP.

It is estimated that hypertension kills seven million people worldwide every year.

Over one billion people in the world are overweight, with at least 300 million of them obese and each a potential candidate for hypertension.

"There are two simple ways to monitor one–s weight and BP. One is your waist cir cumference, which you can measure using a tape measure. For a healthy man, it should be less than 38 inches and for a healthy woman it should be less than 32 inches.

The second method is to calculate your body mass index or BMI. Check your weight in kgs and your height in metres. Divide your weight by the square of your height.

The answer is your BMI. If the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, it is healthy, 25–29.9 is overweight, 30–39.9 is obese and anything above 40 is dangerously obese," he said.

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