Maharashtra’s MLAs, MLCs and govt staff to undergo body mass index test

Medical education minister Girish Mahajan says decision part of state’s month-long ‘Fight Obesity’ campaign

Maharashtra’s Members of legislative assembly (MLA), Members of legislative council (MLC) and other government employees will soon undergo body mass index (BMI) test, according to state medical education minister Girish Mahajan.

The decision has been taken as part of Maharashtra’s month-long ‘Fight Obesity’ campaign, which was launched on World Obesity Day (November 29).

BMI test is a part of Fight Obesity campaign. During the campaign, even medical students, teaching, non-teaching staff, and patients at out-patient department at 18 state medical colleges will undergo the test,” said Mahajan.

Obesity campaign has been launched in collaboration with the Pune-based JT Foundation to raise awareness about treating obesity at the earliest. Indian Dietetics Association and All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity (AIAARO), too, are a part of it.

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It is estimated that around 30 million people in India suffer from obesity. In 2014, American Medical Association (AMA) classified obesity as a disease and the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines obesity as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Obesity is defined by body mass index – a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by square of his or her height (in metres).

“Obesity is diagnosed after taking into account a person’s height and weight. If BMI is 30 or more, the person is classified as obese,” said Dr Jayshree Todkar, bariatric surgeon and founder of JT foundation.

Apart from calculating BMI to diagnose obesity, doctors also take into consideration family history, general physical examinations, blood tests and cholesterol levels to rule out diseases associated with obesity.

“Along with BMI, waist circumference is also measured. For women, waist circumference should be less than 31.5 inches and for men, it should be less than 37 inches,” added Todkar.

She explained that obesity comes in various stages and aim of the campaign is to treat it at earliest.

“Only 10 per cent obese patients require surgery. Many ignore their condition and visit us when it is too late. In this campaign, those diagnosed with obesity will receive treatment by medical experts, including dieticians. If detected early, through lifestyle changes, obesity can be treated,” said Todkar.