Karachi: One in four Pakistani adults aged 15 years and above is overweight or obese, says a study on obesity and its link with hypertension and diabetes.
The study has a bearing on South Asia's health trends because of the similarities among the people's food habits and lifestyle in the Indian subcontinent.
Data from this study confirms that excess weight and obesity are a major health problem in Pakistan, said Daily Times yesterday.
The study says that the association of a lower body mass index (BMI) with hypertension and diabetes conditions means that Indo-Asian people are at a greater risk of chronic diseases than their European and American counterparts.
Conducted by Tazeen H. Jafar, Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit of Aga Khan University, the study is based on the analysis of data from the National Health Survey of Pakistan.
Pakistanis need stricter control of their body weight than non-Asian counterparts, the report says, adding that this is a potential cause of concern with increasing urbanisation and sedentary lifestyle in the region.
The study finds it "paradoxical" that an economically challenged country facing a shortage of food could have a high percentage of overweight people.
However, the association of unhealthy weight with economic deprivation is "not so enigmatic", since poor people have limited choices. Many consume large amounts of commercially available cheap, reused oil which is rich in hydrogenated fats and also very energy-dense, the report said.