Jammu Kashmir Is India’s Obese Capital With More Overweight, Anemic Men: NFHS5

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SRINAGAR: It has started showing up. Population restricted to their homes is started having its impact. Jammu and Kashmir has emerged the obese capital of India at least in the overall ranking of the 10 major states the details of which were released in the first go.

In the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), part of which was released last week shows that men in Jammu and Kashmir top at least 10 major states in India for being over-weight. The numbers have increased by 11.11 point per cent in the last three years, media reports said.

In the first instance, the Health Ministry released the findings in 22 states and union territories.  These include Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

Interestingly, however, the figure-conscious half of the population has managed better. Their obesity figure has remained unchanged.

The NFHS-3 had found 16.7 per cent women and 6.2 per cent men obese. In NFSH-4, the figure changed to 29.1 per cent and 20.5 per cent, respectively. Now the NFHS-5 has added 11.11 per cent in case of men which means almost one-third of the male population is over-eight.

A deserted Lal chowk during the government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus Srinagar. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

This is the first survey after August 5, 2019 closure of Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent lockdown because of Covid-19. However, reports suggest that data-gathering had been completed before the Covid-19 set in. “Share of obese men increased in 19 of the 22 states and Union territories for which the data was available. The share of obese women increased in 16,” Hindustan Times reported. “Among major states and UTs, the share of obese women increased the most in Karnataka, by 6.8 percentage points, and the share of obese men increased the most in Jammu and Kashmir, by 11.1 percentage points.”

The crisis has not spared children. The reports said Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mizoram, Tripura, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, have registered several folds increase in the percentage of obesity among children below five years of age in comparison to earlier surveys.

“About 13.4 % under the age of five were found to be obese in Ladakh which was highest among the 22 states and Union Territories surveyed, followed by Lakshadweep at 10.5% Mizoram 10%, Jammu and Kashmir, and Sikkim 9.6% each,” the report said.

At the same time, however, the survey has found an alarming increase in the anaemic population – people losing red blood cell count beyond a set standard, different for men and women. This data also pertains to the 22 states and union territories.

Right now, as per the survey, the women in Jammu and Kashmir are at the No 2 position in the highest percentage of anaemic in India. Assam tops with 19.9 per cent increase and Jammu and Kashmir has recorded an increase of 17 per cent.

What is interesting that Jammu and Kashmir top the chart with the highest percentage increase in the anaemic men. It is 16.3 per cent and Assam is at No 2 with 10.6 per cent.

The NFHS-3 had recorded that 52 per cent women and 19.4 per cent men were anaemic. The figures altered in the subsequent NFHS-4 with the anaemic women falling to 49.4 and the percentage of men slightly increasing to 20.6.  Now more than two-third women and one –third of the male population in Jammu and Kashmir in anaemic.

(This report was edited to remove some inaccuracies.)

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