Haircuts are more expensive for women, so is dry cleaning, and even clothes, shoes and accessories cost us more. And now studies have found that financially, physically and psychologically, obesity is far more expensive for women than men.
It isn’t about not being able to squeeze into that LBD on date night.
Obesity raises a woman’s risk of seven types of cancers (like breast, pancreatic, bowel, kidney) by 40 percent. A massive number of newborns are at risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and asthma in adulthood because their mothers were obese in pregnancy. In 2014, 10 million men were obese in India but the number of obese women was 20 million.
Obese women or Indians in general don’t look half as huge as their Western counterparts, but we have much more fat than muscle at the same body mass index. Genetically we are designed to live with lesser calories than the developed nations. Over centuries we were under-nourished and now with the sudden exposure of calorie dense food, obesity is spiralling out of control.
And it’s not just hormonal imbalances; a sedentary lifestyle, a high-carb and low-protein diet, postpartum weight gain, the fact that health and fitness are not high on the priority list of Indian women, and the tradition of putting their families’ needs above theirs, have resulted in this widespread obesity crisis.
And it’s correlated to a host of expensive, chronic diseases. A whopping 80 percent of urban Indian women are battling some sort of abdominal obesity, the crippling double burden of ‘diabesity’ means that out of 65 million diabetics in India, 8 out of 10 are caused by obesity.
60 percent of urban women in the reproductive age, 30 to 40 years, are at a risk of getting heart diseases. One in 10 women suffers from PCOS or poly cystic ovarian syndrome, a metabolic disorder that often impairs fertility, alters the period cycle, causes weight gain, diabetes, acne and excessive body hair.