KARACHI: Obesity is one of the fastest growing diseases worldwide and it is estimated that 1.7 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese. Pakistan ranks ninth among the world’s most obese countries.

These points were highlighted at a lecture held on Wednesday at the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) at Karachi University.

Speaking on obesity, Dr Masood Jawaid, assistant professor of surgery and in-charge e-learning programme at the Dow University of Health Sciences, said obesity and weight gain was linked to a wide range of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and indigestion.

“The fundamental causes of overweight and obesity are genetics, overeating, a diet high in carbohydrates, increased frequency in eating, physical inactivity etc. Childhood obesity is really a complex health issue,” he said.

He also briefed the audience on ‘www.fightobesity.info’, Pakistan’s first patient portal that aims to create awareness about the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle as well as the strategies that could help fight obesity.

The website, he pointed out, would provide a platform to obese patients and the population at large to engage with each other to get educated and modify their behaviour which could help reduce obesity, or even prevent it.

The support group for obese patients and their families would also allow for interaction with fitness conscious people and allow an understanding of their lifestyle experiences.

“The website will be an information resource on diseases for patients where they will get an opportunity to connect with doctors to obtain personalised advice along with maintaining their personal health records online,” he said.

The aim was to fight obesity in the country and alleviate the miseries associated with it, he added.

Published in Dawn September 8th, 2016