LAHORE: A scientific survey has revealed alarming figures with 50 per cent of country’s population found to be obese -- a major cause of diabetes.

This real time research survey provides the most reliable data on prevalence of obesity in Pakistan and should serve as a call for action, for it leaves country’s half of population vulnerable to diabetes, said Prof Dr AH Amir from Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, while quoting findings of scientific data on obesity during the fifth annual mid-summer endocrine symposium held here on Monday under the auspices of Pakistan Endocrine Society (PES).

Prof Amir said World Health Organization (WHO) has set different guidelines on Body Mass Index (BMI) for global population and South Asia.

The survey was conducted on 18,856 subjects in all parts of the country according to required medical standards.

It revealed startling figures of 29pc of population overweight, 31pc among obesity class-I, 13pc of them in obesity class-II and 7pc among obesity class-III categorisation, which suggests half of country’s population obese.

“The prevalence of obesity in the world is 19pc fewer than Pakistan as 31pc of world’s population is obese with 35pc of them being overweight, 20pc among obesity class-I, 7pc of them in class-II and 4pc among obesity class-III categorisation,” said Prof Amir, who is also a former president of PES.

He said diabetes was the main contributor to heart diseases, 50pc to kidney diseases and 50pc to blindness. With these alarming factors, he regretted that there were merely about 60 endocrinologists in Pakistan with not a single endocrinologist in Balochistan.

He said at least one in every 10 women was diabetic and many do not have access to education, treatment and care. As gestational diabetes takes its toll among pregnant women, and resultantly, one in every seven births is affected by gestational diabetes.

PES President Prof Dr Ali Jawa said the mid-summer symposium, followed by annual conference in Lahore, was an opportunity for young doctors and trainees to get familiar with latest advancements in endocrinology.

He said PES had held annual conferences in big cities and mid-summer symposiums in smaller cities to create awareness among doctors in particular and public in general.

“The people in smaller cities usually neither have resources nor access to specialised care such as endocrinology so such symposiums provide an opportunity to local people to interact with specialists in the field,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2018