Obesity increasing in Pakistan alarmingly, warns expert

Karachi: “Obesity is an emerging challenge to human wellbeing. Like other parts of the world, obesity is increasing at alarming rate in Pakistan.”

Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Chaudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences ICCBS Karachi University, said this while delivering a lecture in the 4th International Symposium-Cum-Training Course on Molecular Medicine and Drug Research at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences ICCBS.

He said overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.6 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. WHO estimates 26 per cent of women and 19 per cent of men in Pakistan are obese. Women are 23 times more likely to be obese. Childhood obesity is increasing with an estimated value of 10 per cent.

Over 350 scientists, including 35 scientists from 24 countries, are attending the international event, organised by Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research PCMD, Karachi University.

Dr. Chaudhary said that obesity had become a serious health problem worldwide, which is a result of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure; the molecular cascade involves in obesity and associated disorders are not fully understood. Proliferation of adiposities plays an important role in the onset and progression of obesity, he added.

“Obesity has been linked to several serious health ailments like heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer; once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low and middle-income countries. Overweight and obesity are largely preventable; the intake of healthier foods and regular physical activity are easiest ways to prevent obesity,” he said.

There is an urgent need to have R&D programme in the field of antiobesity drug discovery and development, he urged, saying that the fundamental causes of obesity are an increased intake of energy dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and a decrease in physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.

Talking about the multidrug resistant pathogens, he said that a rapid decline in research and development on new antibiotics coincides with increasing frequency of infections caused by multidrug resistant pathogens. The key reason of bacterial resistance is the indiscriminate of suboptimal use of antibiotics.

During the last three days of the symposium, various lectures of the national and international scientists were held on different scientific issues.

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