Q&A with Dr Shashank Shah, Organising Chairman at IFSO APC 2017

As the 'Diabesity' conference is underway in Goa where doctors from all over the world have congregated to discuss the twin menace of obesity and diabetes. Here we engage in a Q & A with Dr Dr Shashank Shah, Organizing Chairman at IFSO APC 2017

Sir, what is the significance of this conference?

The aim of the conference is to define obesity. If you look at the common man’s prospective, if you eat less and exercise you lose weight. But that is completely not true. Obesity is a hormonal disease. Obesity is purely a hormonal metabolic disorder. In this conference, world doctors who are practicing and researching in the field of obesity and diabetes are on one platform. So, we all will discuss about Diabesity, and will try to define a strategy to define obesity.

Dr Shashank Shah, Organizing Chairman at IFSO APC 2017

American Medical association has classified Obesity as a disease. How this conference will help doctors to convince other caregivers in declaring obesity as a disease in India?

Obesity is a disease, and not just a lifestyle disorder. First we all must understand that obesity is a disease. We need to spread awareness about this among the masses, and it should start for physician, society, family and government. All sectors should come together to understand, accept and try to improve the awareness about obesity as a disease.

This year’s theme is Diabesity, why? Is there any specific agenda behind it?

In the western world, people are huge compared to Indians. But, in India, people are not so huge, but still obesity is increasing. Weight around 80 to 90 kgs doesn’t look very huge, but the fat percentage in their body is very high. Indians have higher fats though they are much lower in weight. And that is why they get diabetes at a much lower weight. Its’ not only about diabetes, 65 percent of the cardiovascular diseases have been seen in India. Some or the other person in India is suffering from obesity and diabetes. In today’s world, Diabesity, is the largest non-communicable disease, which contributes to lakhs of deaths worldwide. To prevent this, doctors and government should come together. Here we, have surgeons physicians, we all shall share data, and the patient behavior with each-other. Diabesity is one of the worst enemies of the mankind.

 What would you say about the fast growing threat, childhood obesity?

Childhood obesity is the biggest challenge we are facing as on today. Out next generation is getting bigger and bigger in size. The incident of child obesity has doubled, and if this continues, 25 per cent of them will develop diabetes in their thirties. Earlier age of developing diabetes was around 50, now that age has come to 30, this means diabetes has attacked our youths much earlier. These children will start developing health issues in their mid-40s. We need to save our young generation. This is the largest threat a country would face.

What parents should do to save their children?

Chubby and healthy, all thought to be healthy. But, now typical Bollywood zero figure as on today is a healthy figure. We all should start looking at our waistline; if it is increasing you must show it to the doctor. That is the first step that you are suffering from obesity, immediately go and meet the medical professional. Prevention is better than cure. As a parent you should control, eating junk food and street food. Enjoying it once is okay, but it should not become your daily habit and parents must look into it.

Can a common man afford Bariatric surgery?

Our whole aim is to make it affordable. Bariatric surgery is one of the options; we want to make it more affordable. Our whole aim is to make it affordable. If you look at what a person spends on his medication, and long term complications due to obesity, but this single investment can save lots of expenses in future. We have interest free EMI option, we have 4 year EMI option, and we are trying to economies it. We are planning to start this in government hospitals, central government has approved this, and insurance companies have approved this. I, think the process is on to make it affordable for everyone. It’s a long journey but we are committed it.