Obesity increases in India; Haryana, Karnataka among worst performers: NFHS-5

Prevalence of obesity didn't decrease for both men and women in any state, according to NFHS-5

By Taran Deol
Published: Thursday 25 November 2021

India has recorded a four per cent increase in obesity in both men and women in the last five years, according to the fifth and latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).

Obesity is defined as body mass index equal to or more than 25 kilograms of body mass per square metre of body height.

The percentage of women who are overweight or obese is 24 per cent in NFHS-5, up from 20.6 per cent in NFHS-4 (2015-16). The proportion is greater in urban areas at 33.2 per cent, in comparison to 19.7 per cent in rural areas. 

The disease prevalence also went up in men to 22.9 per cent (NFHS-5) from 18.9 per cent (NFHS-4). The proportion of obese men was also higher in urban areas at 29.8 per cent compared to 19.3 per cent in rural areas. 

Gujarat and Maharashtra emerged as the best-performing states, according to the report.

In Gujarat, there was a marginal decrease in overweight / obese women — down from 23.7 per cent in NFHS-4 to 22.6 per cent in NFHS-5. The state saw a marginal increase in prevalence of obesity in men — 19.9 per cent in NFHS-5 and 19.7 per cent in NFHS-4).

In Maharashtra, the percentage of obese women remained unchanged (23.4 per cent) since the 2016 report. For men, the prevalence dipped slightly from 23.8 per cent (NFHS-4) to 24.7 per cent (NFHS-5). 

No state recorded a decrease in percentage of both men and women who are overweight or obese.

Some of the worst-performing states include Haryana, Karnataka, Manipur and Odisha, recording a 7-12 per cent increase in obese women and a 5-11 per cent increase in obese men.

Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Chhattisgarh are among states that fall in the middle of the order, recording a 3-7 per cent increase for both men and women.

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