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Metabolic Syndrome plays havoc with Indians

Obesity has become a major global issue, afflicting millions of people, compounding a series of other health problems, a prominent ‘Mind Power Activation’ expert has said.

Speaking at a health seminar organised by the Botany Branch of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) at the Mission School in East Auckland on August 18, he said that obesity is often associated with a number of medical conditions.

“However, some of these can be prevented through proper calorie intake and energy consumption. There are a number of ‘silent diseases’ such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes that are linked to obesity,” he said.

According to him, diabetes can be insidious and remain undetected for about four to seven years. An increasing number of Indians suffer from ‘Metabolic Syndrome,’ which is a combination of hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, hyperuricemia and hyperlipidaemia, particularly when waist circumference exceeds 80 cm and 90 cms respectively in Asian women and men.

He said that Coronary artery disease resulting from hyperlipidaemia is the most common condition affecting Indian males. For Indians, the threshold for cholesterol should be four millimoles per litre, and more critically if there is a family history of premature coronary artery disease.

“Obesity and diabetes affect both sexes. Type II Diabetes has 9% prevalence in India, afflicting around 30 million people. But only a third of them are overweight or obese. Truncal obesity increases the risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Renal disease and cataract formation are linked to Diabetes. Breast cancer is on the increase, while TB is making a comeback, and AIDS continues to be a threat,” he said.

Dr Kanji said that eating is a pleasurable aspect of life, he warned against the hidden components that make up the food we ingest. He stressed the importance of reading the labels on food packets to determine carbohydrate, protein and fat content, which should be 60-70%, 15-20% and 15-20% respectively.

“Prevention is better than cure! But we do not see is what inside our bodies; these are continually being lined with cholesterol deposits and end organ damage as a result of hypertension or diabetes. We need to take responsibility,” he said.

Then most significant message that Dr Kanji conveyed at the Seminar was that human mind can help promote healthy living of the body and that a number of decisions influenced the state of both.

“Discipline is central and critical to healthy life. My objective is to encourage awareness and understanding of the body, and emphasise the importance of proper medical examination and screening for hypertension, diabetes, prostate, breast and cervical cancer,” he said.

GOPIO New Zealand President Alkesh Sharma said that a series of such Seminars were being planned to raise awareness of health issues among PIO.

Students inspire

Among the highlights of the Seminar was the involvement of a group of four Year 6 students (Vivienne Tam, Caitlyn Pillay, Helen Huang and Jese Bartley) of the Mission Heights Primary School, implementing ‘Project for future living.’ They had prepared snacks for the guests attending the Seminar, with their own recipes of healthy living.

School Principal Veena Vohra (who is also the President of GOPIO Botany) said that the student group identified unhealthy lifestyles among an increasing number of primary-aged students across all cultures

“They are bringing more carbohydrates, sugary and fatty foods in their school lunch boxes. After some research, including looking through school lunchboxes and involvement in after school physical activity, the Group decided to target obesity epidemic that can endanger the lives of the young. Healthy food exercise plans and enhancing awareness are their goals in promoting the project,” she said.

The School has been a harbinger of several proactive programmes, designed and implemented by its students, with the active support of its Principal, staff and parents. Three years ago, the students of Mission Heights Junior College received accolades for their award-winning performance at the ‘Future Problem Solving Programme’ held at the University of Wisconsin, US (Indian Newslink, July 15, 2010).

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