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Suffering from New World Syndrome?

September 06, 2018 10:20 IST

New World Syndrome that affects 75 per cent world population is triggered by a radical change in diet and lifestyle, says bariatric surgeon Dr Venugopal Pareek.

Do you have New World Syndrome?

The trend of junk food consumption and a highly sedentary lifestyle has brought on a new health condition that affects almost 75 per cent of world population.

Ever heard of New World Syndrome? Maybe you already have it.

What is New World Syndrome?

New World syndrome is an assemblage of maladies brought on not by microbes or parasites but by the assault of rapid Westernisation of traditional cultures.

It is an amalgam of non-communicable diseases characterised by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease also shortened life span.

What causes it?

New World Syndrome is triggered by a radical change in diet and lifestyle.

The modern high pressure office jobs and comfort travelling in air conditioned vehicles have replaced traditional jobs that required physical activity.

Limited physical activity combined with brain exertion and stress is one of the major causes of New World Syndrome. 

Another contributing factor for is the growing influence of western food habits.

These foods are rich in fat, salt, sugar, carbohydrates and refined starches which lead to weight gain escalating to obesity.

Obesity is driving our current generation into diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and dyslipidemia disorders.

Obesity figures are at a staggering 70 million.

In India, 70 per cent of India's urban population are either obese or overweight.

As per World Health Organisation statistics, more than 1.4 billion adults are overweight globally.

Approximately 20 per cent of school-going children in India are obese, which include 19.2 per cent boys and 18.1 per cent girls.

Overweight vs obesity: The dangers of unhealthy weight gain

Unlike weight gain, which may be temporary, obesity is a condition where excess of fat get stored in the abdomen.

In accordance with body mass index of body, 25 per cent total body fat in men and 30 per cent total body fat in women are identified as obese individuals.

When your body weight is higher than normal, it increases the risk of diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes could lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, brain strokes, blindness, kidney failures and nerve damages with amputations.

Another consequence of being overweight is obstructive sleep apnea.

An overweight person may tend to snore, is unable to sleep well and remains drowsy during the day.

Snoring is a respiratory problem caused due to weight gain in which normal breathing is stopped intermittently during sleep. 

An obese person is also prone to gout -- a medical problem that affects joints.

In gout, people have increased uric acid levels which results in painful, red and inflamed joints.

Increased body mass index raise the levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.

High level of LDL and low level of HDL also cause atherosclerosis -- a condition in which your blood vessels narrow down leading to a heart attack.

With time, there could be pressure on the joints, especially your knees. If not corrected in time, you are at risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Studies have proved that risk of cancers (bowel, breast and oesophageal) is also higher among obese individuals.

How you can fight New World Syndrome

The most effective way of fighting New World Syndrome is to prevent the conditions that lead to weight gain.

Childhood obesity should be addressed at the initial stage. Children should not be overfed for the sake of keeping them healthy.

Evidence-based medical practice and obesity camps may help train parents to be aware of the condition and its side effects.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Organic home-cooked food combined with moderate physical activity on a regular basis can help reverse your condition.

Try to stick to a regime and if it doesn't work, seek help of a medical expert.

Alternately, those who are unable to achieve success in weight loss, in spite of following strict diet and lifestyle modification could opt for bariatric surgery.

Usually, surgery is recommended to patients who are unable to achieve even a five percent decrease in weight with diet and lifestyle modifications.

 Lead image used for a repesentational purposes only.

Dr Venugopal Pareek