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IIM Ahmedabad organises Anti-Obesity and Fitness Conclave on Anti-Obesity Day

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The event was motivated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s #FitIndiaMovement

On Anti-Obesity Day, IIM Ahmedabad’s Healthcare Club Panacea organised an Anti-Obesity and Fitness Conclave for #IndiaFightsObesity movement. The event was motivated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s #FitIndiaMovement where the best of minds gathered to deliberate on how society needs to stop stigmatising obesity and treating it as a behavioural abnormality. The problem of weighing more than one should has many factors, including certain genes where the implications are not just biological but also physiological, environmental, societal and cultural. The fight against obesity needs gutsy will as it is not just about how many people are overweight or obese. The gathering pledged for a fitter India movement and wage a war against obesity.

Mandira Bedi – anchor turned fitness enthusiast led the discussion to raise awareness on causes and preventive tips for obesity and related complications. Leading experts from the field of obesity and wellness were present and the keynote speaker was none other than the Dr Dinesh Barot, State Programme Officer, Health & Wellness Cell, Commissionerate of Health, Gandhinagar. He highlighted how obesity has led to an immense increase in the mortality rates across the nation – nearly reducing life expectancy by nine years in women and 12 years in men. He congratulated regulators especially the insurance regulatory body (IRDAI) which recently included bariatric or weight-loss surgery under insurance and called it a ‘revolutionary step for a fitter India’. Supporting the cause were Dr Mohit Bhandari, Obesity Specialist, Sonali Swami, Indian body builder, Rajesh Chandwani, Professor, IIM (A), Dr Shashank Shah, Diabetes Surgeon and Dr Manish Khaitan, CEO, NoObesity.

Bedi tested fitness quotient of the audience by challenging them to stand on one leg with their eyes closed, interestingly most of those present were not able to stand for more than a minute. While many saw and shared a laugh, it also made them question their fitness and look for better health guidance. Bedi strongly impressed upon the attending audience, the importance of looking for right treatments at the right time.

Most of the people not only blame themselves for obesity, but also battle societal stigma. It is high time that one understands obesity is a disease which needs treatment by a specialist. Even the government has taken a serious note of this epidemic and has ensured strong measures. The National Multisectoral Action Plan for prevention and control of common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), National Monitoring Framework (NMF), Ayushman Bharat and FitIndiaMoment are some of the key initiatives of the government to support this cause.

A massive and revolutionary step this year has been the inclusion of insurance cover for those who want to opt for obesity treatment. Although misinformation about obesity treatment is still very rampant, surgical intervention is an option for people with 40+ BMI and 35+ BMI along with co-morbidities. Insurance will cover medically advised treatment as per new IRDAI regulation.

Dr Bhandari said “Most patients who come to us have tried so many failed diets. Metabolic surgery provides a second chance to those patients trying to make long-term changes and make them lose 50-60 per cent of their excess weight. At one point in time people thought that obesity was a disease of the rich, but that is not true anymore. Now with insurance cover, it will be of a great help to people who need this life-saving treatment.”

Dr Khaitan stated, “Any disease is detrimental to a patient’s quality of life. NCDs (non-communicable diseases) even more so. Obesity is as chronic a disease as diabetes and needs treatment for life. It hampers mental and physical quality of life. Our focus should be on long term cure and prevention.”

Dr Shah mentioned, “Obesity is a complex disease depending on multiple factors like metabolism and total energy expenditure. However, individuals and society wrongly blame lack of willpower, when it is actually because of hormonal action which interferes with metabolism and gives rise to obesity. Like any other disease, a person suffering from obesity should seek expert opinion for individually designed solution.”

The Anti-Obesity conclave was also attended by patients suffering from morbid obesity, who shared their personal journey.

The conclave ended with a call to action as everyone came together to undertake a pledge for a healthier tomorrow, a fitter India and a promise to join India’s fight against obesity.

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