KATHMANDU, Sept 6: In a sign of heightening health-related risks among city dwellers, a study has reckoned that over one-third of the population of Kathmandu is overweight and 11 percent of these are obese, with a quarter suffering from high blood pressure.
According to the study conducted by the Department of Public Health at Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) on 3,500 patients who visited its 20 Urban Health Clinics last year, the number of obese in the capital is bigger than those who are underweight.
The study was conducted on the basis of the Body Mass Index (BMI), a popular health methodology for gauging nutritional intake. BMI is obtained by dividing an individual´s weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters.
The study also found that the problem of obesity is much more serious among women than among males. “Fifty-five percent of women over age 30 and living in the metropolis are overweight,” stated the report.
“The study traced multiple health complications such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and diabetese among those who are overweight,” Dr Baburam Gautam, coordinator of the study, told Republica.
The findings show that obesity and overweight problems are higher in the 30-60 age group while 50 percent of those in the age group 40-59 are either overweight or obsese.
Since most of the patients visiting the clinics are from the marginal and lower middle classes, the obesity picture might be in much more scary if individuals from the upper middle and upper classes, who often chose to go to private clinics, are counted, he added.
Similarly, the study reckoned that males in all age groups, unlike women, have problems related to high blood pressure, except when it comes to those over 70.
In sharp contract to earlier surveys including the one conducted by the metropolis in 2008, which showed a growing number of underweight people, this latest survey found that Kathmandu is fast becoming a city of obese people.
“The situation now is absolutely the opposite as people are consuming more calories than they burn,” said Dr Gautam. The study was conducted by health workers and community health volunteers, with JICA support.