About 80 percent of urban Indian working women in the 25-45 age
group are fat because of sedentary lifestyle and changing food
habits, a survey by a health organisation has revealed.
"Most of the women who were obese said they were overweight
because of sedentary lifestyle, lack of time to walk or exercise
due to work pressure, and not having healthy food," Heal
Foundation president R. Shankar told IANS here.
The survey report "Rising Workplace Obesity among Indian Women" --
by Healthji.com in association with Leisa's Secret, a firm that
sells weight loss products -- covered about 2,000 working women
across Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and
"Obesity could also affect the mind, and cause symptoms like
insomnia, depression and self-pity," Shankar said, citing
responses of obese women during the survey.
A majority of the women working in the information technology (IT)
and biotechnology (BT) sectors gain weight as they spend 10-12
hours sitting at their terminals (computers) in a controlled
"Most of the 'knowledge workers' admitted during the survey that
their walks were confined to going to a restroom or fetching
coffee, tea or snacks from the office pantry or cafeteria. Their
work poses a hazard to their health," Shankar said.
Although many of the fat women expressed satisfaction over their
careers and salaries, they were conscious of their appearance.
"Grappling with weight management could pose psychological
problems and affect not only eating habits but also lead to
depression. Long-term stress influences hormones, which control
appetite and stimulate metabolism, resulting in insulin release
and hunger for more food," chief psychiatrist Neelesh Tiwari of
the New Delhi-based World Brain Centre said.
"Married working women who are also homemakers are under even
greater stress as they have no time to include exercise in their
daily routine. Their own health is unfortunately not a priority
for these women," Shankar said.
Interestingly, unlike their men counterparts, women knowledge
workers, single or married, do not make use of the gym or other
health facilities that many tech firms provide in their campuses
for paucity of time, deadline pressures at work, and the rush to
return home to finish domestic chores.
According to chief executive Amit Srivastava of Rapid Nutrition,
an Australia-based firm that offers comprehensive weight loss
programmes, middle-aged working women are prone to debilitating
disorders as the weight loss patterns are not sustainable in the
long run unless they give up sedentary lifestyle, resort to walks
and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily and change their food
habits, especially eating junk food.
"A multi-pronged approach to increase basal metabolic rate, resist
hunger and produce calorie deficit with essential micro-nutrients
can help reduce weight and regain a body that is slim, light and
active," claimed Simon St Ledger, managing director, Rapid