A 16-year-old boy who is currently preparing for a secondary education exam weighs 109 kg. His parents, worried about his weight, made him go to the gym. He goes to school early in the morning and comes home late in the afternoon, so that didn’t work.
Nutrition scientist Dr Sudha Shree Adhikari said, “Now that he’s in the upper grades, the school has started a special coaching class in the morning.” No, there are no open spaces for children to play in the community, and processed and junk food made his health worse.”
This is common among urban households at a time when obesity is emerging as a major public health problem. Also, the problem is not just childhood obesity, but several non-communicable diseases caused by lifestyle and dietary changes.
Nutritional scientists and doctors warn that obesity and non-communicable diseases (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes) could lead to a public health crisis if not addressed immediately. They blame a sedentary lifestyle and consumption of processed foods as the main culprits.
Dr. Om Murti, Interventional Cardiologist, said: “When a family member or breadwinner has a serious health problem, the whole family suffers.”
All the doctors and nutritionists interviewed by The Washington Post say there has been a startling increase in noncommunicable disease cases lately. bottom.
“Even relatively young people are not immune to these problems these days,” says Anil.
A few months ago, a 35-year-old man from Kathmandu visited Dr. Anil’s private clinic. The man, a bank employee, complained of a mild headache. Tests show that he has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high borderline blood sugar, and is overweight.
He also smoked regularly and drank occasionally. He liked eating processed foods such as momos and fried noodles at restaurants, and would sometimes eat out with his family.
The man worked in a bank all day, stayed up late, and never exercised. He was at high risk of stroke and heart attack, so he was prescribed drugs to control his blood pressure and cholesterol.
“After the diagnosis, the man changed his lifestyle, stopped eating in hotels and restaurants, and started exercising,” said Anil. “We recently stopped taking his cholesterol meds and reduced his blood pressure meds. .”
Studies have shown that Nepalese blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels are elevated due to their sedentary lifestyle.
A 2019 study on the prevalence of non-communicable diseases by the Nepal Health Research Council found that non-communicable diseases accounted for 71% of deaths in the country.
The study shows that hypertension, diabetes, renal dysfunction, liver problems, heart problems, and cervical cancer account for the majority of morbidity and mortality in Nepal.
The study primarily focuses on behavioral risk factors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, and biological risk factors, such as elevated blood pressure, weight gain, obesity, prevalence of dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. I was guessing
The study found that changing dietary patterns and increased consumption of processed foods exacerbated the problem.
Findings show that smoking is the leading risk factor for death in 2019, with 17.7% of deaths due to smoking, followed by systolic hypertension (12.3%), diabetes (8%), high cholesterol and impaired kidney function. followed.
Public health experts say the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases is a global phenomenon, but developing countries like Nepal face a double blow.
The report of the Nepal STEP Study on Risk Factors for Noncommunicable Diseases-2019, jointly conducted by the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health and Population and Nepal Health Research Council, also revealed alarming signs on a number of issues. rice field. Alcohol, tobacco, salt, junk food, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables all contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Experts say the rise in non-communicable diseases will affect not just specific families, but entire societies, and will affect the progress of nations.
A few weeks ago, public health expert Dr. Aruna Uprety and her friends organized a gathering of fellow college friends. Of the 200 students, only 40 attended the meeting.
“We found that 11 of our colleagues have already died, nine of them from non-communicable diseases,” said Uprety. “I’m the only one in my batch in 1976 who doesn’t take medicine for non-communicable diseases.”
Uprety is now 63 years old.
To reiterate, it is not only people of the same generation who suffer from lifestyle-related diseases, but their children and grandchildren as well.
According to Uprety, many young women have infertility-related problems due to obesity, diabetes and hypothyroidism, and small children suffer from both malnutrition and obesity.
Doctors say noncommunicable diseases, which were previously mostly diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70, are now appearing as young as 25. Young people live with high blood pressure, fatty liver and diabetes.
“Countries need to take steps to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, which are largely driven by lifestyle changes, before the situation gets worse,” said Uprety.