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Published Date: Wednesday, 31st August 2016

Why Do We Choose Western Fitness Diets Over Desi Dal Subzi?

IN EVERYONE'S LIFE there's always one person who has tried his hand at all kinds of businesses and failed. But the math of failure upturns when you enter the world of weight loss. Almost every person who has tried to lose weight has failed to keep it off. And it's not because of lack of trying. It could actually be a case of trying too much. Statistics put the number of people who have lost weight and kept it off at less than 20 per cent, which means that at least 80 per cent of us are constantly struggling to lose weight. India, by the way, is the third-most obese country in the world. We also rank amongst the highest in the global hunger index, just behind Afghanistan and Pakistan. This lethal combo of obesity and hunger is described as the double burden of malnourishment by the World Health Organization. "Not too long ago in our country, the main difference between the rich and the poor was not the food they ate but the clothes they wore," said a 70-year-old farmer from Sangli, part of a senior internship programme in my office. That is clearly changing. This double burden is a global phenomenon. The number of underweight people has gone up from 330 million in 1975 to 462 million in 2014. But in the same period, we have gotten fatter, a number that stands at 641 million, up from 105 million. For the first time ever, the earth has more obese than under- weight people. The biggest culprit for this change is the rural-to-urban shift in population, which comes with a decrease in physical work and a shift in diet patterns. The cost of living in cities is higher and women stepping out to work have not been accompanied with men leaning in the kitchens. Gender equality, a determinant for health and wellbeing, is consigned to fantasy life on the big screen, like in Ki & Ka.

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