OBESITY or being overweight has been a virtually constant topic in the media and people are getting showered with all kinds of advice

Exercise, yoga, meditation (transcendental or otherwise), all kinds of dietary regime/advice and pills.

In addition in the most severe cases causing bodily dysfunction —bariatric surgery.

It is not my intention to give another lecture on obesity management; I want to talk about obesity awareness.

Apart from just direct ‘management’ eg exercise, diet control etc it is important for the ‘subject’ to receive constant support from health care professionals and often such support is either inadequate or absent.

The ‘It is all your responsibility’ approach does not always help, it is not easy to lose weight and the affected individuals feel frustrated and dejected and continue to put on even more weight. Obesity awareness is extremely important and such ‘self help’ groups supported by professionals is often the answer

Obesity is a public health hazard and ought to be an integral part of health education. This ought to commence at school and continue throughout one’s life, at home, at social gatherings and at workplaces.

Excessive body weight often results in diabetes, raised blood pressure, arthritis, heart disorders and many other major and/or minor problems. It even affects breathing and may affect higher functions due to poor oxygenation. Many surgeons refuse to carry out necessary operations on very obese individuals for fear of complications. The importance of obesity-avoidance is relevant to all of us.

Recently in the US (where obesity is even more prevalent than it is here), special discussion groups have been set up – awareness, treatment and care in obesity management — where these issues are being discussed and debated especially with a view to raising ‘awareness’ among the health care professionals. It is felt that a development of insight into obesity care and management is very necessary as an important adjunct to the actual treatment measures.

Despite attempts for weight loss, only 23per cent of obese subjects become successful; but that also is only for a short period followed by recurrence of weight gain.

Like Alcoholic Anonymous support groups, weight control is difficult and needs close support and observation. A fuller knowledge along with both prevention and treatment strategies are absolutely vital. The health care professional and the care providers ought to play their parts.

In addition, as a society of multiple communities, cultures, dietary and social habits, it is important that we discuss the issues openly and widely. Prevention is always better than suffering and cure. We all must make a valiant effort to keep obesity on the agenda, as this condition, no matter how harmless it might seem, can be a killer.