The prevalence of obesity and associated medical conditions in an urban Indian general practice.
David, C. A. D.
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The prevalence of obesity and associated medical conditions amongst Indian patients attending an urban Indian general practice in Phoenix was investigated. Data were collected using standardized questionnaires and checklists. All obese patients, 18 years of age and older, who attended the Researcher's general practice were interviewed and examined, personally, by the Researcher. The study was conducted over a period of three months. In respect of identifying medical conditions associated with obesity, information from patients' records in the Researcher's general practice was utilized and where this was not available, a questionnaire to identify the aforementioned medical conditions, was administered to the patient. Data were collected, entered onto a collation sheet and analysed manually. The prevalence rate of obesity for males and females was found to be 4% and 13% respectively. The majority (88%) of obese subjects were married and were housewives. A large number (81%) had received a low level of education. The majority (91%) did not smoke. Most (95%) did not consume any alcohol. The majority of obese subjects (70%) came from families consisting of between four and seven persons. Most were in the third and fourth decades of their lives (65%), and engaged in very little physical activity. The majority (70%) had a diet consisting mainly of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates. Dyspnoea was the most commonly occurring medical condition in these subjects (32%). Next ranked osteoarthrosis (23%); then varicose veins (10%); depression (10%); hypertension (9%); anxiety (6%); diabetes niellitus (4%); flat feet (2%); hernia (2%) and ischaemic heart disease (2%). Obesity is associated with much morbidity. Efforts should be directed towards preventive measures as well as identifying and treating those obese persons who are at risk of developing obesity - associated diseases.