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Let’s talk about… obesity rising in every continent

Let’s talk about… obesity rising in every continent

Obesity has become a challenge, a big one, in Nepal (a South Asian nation which continues to struggle with persistent under-nourishment among her people). Our review of evidence illustrates the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity over the past two decades, while official responses from the federal government remains sub-optimal.

Traditionally, Nepal's malnutrition problem was characterised by undernutrition as expresssed in terms of sub-optimal growth among children, thinness among women and deficiencies of selected micronutrients such as iron. This still remains at high prevalence levels, despite the decreasing trends in prevalence. However, obesity, particularly amongst adults, has risen to epidemic proportions in the past two decades. So, Nepal faces the double burden of high - though declining - levels of undernutrition (including micronutrient deficiencies) and the rising challenge of obesity. 

This has occurred simultaneously with changes in society and economy. Owing to the easy and widespread availability of low quality foods produced by the industries and marketed aggressively using a host of business strategies, Nepali people's eating habits are changing towards increasingly high consumption of food products with refined carbohydrates, salt and fat. Also, prevalence of insufficient levels of physical activity has risen. 

In urban areas, a plethora of fitness centres have emerged, offering commercialised facilities and services to lose weight. Yet, there is no indication that the prevalence of obesity would decrease in the next several years, unless the marketing of unhealthy foods are controlled, and an environmental conducive for adequate physical activity is developed.