Obesity (Over weight).
About 1.2 billion people worldwide are officially classified as overweight, states World Health Organization. Seventy per cent of India’s urban population is obese and comes under overweight category, another report predicts.
If these statistics are not shocking enough, a study published in Lancet, states that India is just behind the US and China in the global hazard list of top ten countries with the highest number of obese people. It further states that India is truly under siege as junk food; alcohol and sedentary lifestyle are leading us to silent self-destruction, making one in every citizen of India, both men and women either obese or overweight. According to study which carried out research on obesity among various states of India top 4 ranks in the list are as follows Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu , Jharkhand and Maharashtra. The study also says that among the top ranking states of India Tamil Nadu has more percentage of obese females which is around 24.4%? 
The above data forces us to ponder why despite the multibillion dollar weight loss industry, there seems to be no relief in the current upsurge of obesity and accompanying lifestyle diseases.
Both Siddha and Ayurveda medicine systems have extensive and workable solutions for weight loss without any side effects.
In siddha medicine obesity or over weight is called as “உடல் பருமன் நோய் (அ) மிகை உடல் கொழுப்பு”. In vernacular parlance it is “தொப்பை”.
In Ayurveda obesity is called as Medho roga or Sthaulya roga.
Obesity in Siddha and Ayurveda.
According to the principles of siddha and Ayurveda system, human body is composed of seven dhatus or thaathus namely, Rasa(Lymph), Rakta (Blood), Maans(Muscle), Meda(Fat), Asthi(Bones), Majja (Nervous System) Shukra (Reproductive System).
Also when the Vata – Pitha – Kapha ratio deranges from nominal levels due to physiological or pathological reasons, the human body goes out of equilibrium and starts accumulating much Meda (kozhuppu).
Now in obesity the remaining 6 dhatus get malnourished and Meda is over nourished resulting in excess fat formation in the body.
As to the fact,
“Everything in excess is opposed to nature. –Hippocrates”
If this problem continues for some time it will result in metabolic disorder and giving way to insulin resistance, diabetes, Cardio vascular disease and at times linked to cancer.
Obesity in Children
Obesity among children brought up in metro and tier 1 cities is a common disorder says studies. A research paper on prevalence of obesity among school children in Chennai gives us shocking analytics on the same. Studies say that obesity in children and adolescents are highly prevalent with those in private schools when compared to government school children.
Causes of obesity
- Fast food consumption. Definition of fast food is “foods sold in a restaurant or store which are rapidly prepared and quickly served in a packaged form for take away” eg. Burgers, pizzas, fries, hamburgers, patties, nuggets. Indian foods like pakora, samosa, vada, bajji, namkeen etc.
- Consumption of junk foods i.e. energy dense foods with high sugar or fat or salt content and low in nutrition like protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content.
- Sedentary lifestyle or being a couch potato i.e. leading a life with no physical activities more common with developed and developing countries. It includes watching TV, playing video games, browsing being at the same place for long hours.
- Hormonal imbalances
- Intake of Kapha aggravating foods such as sweets, refined foods in excess.
Siddha treatment for Obesity
Siddha medicine system offers both preventive and curative measures for combating obesity. Even though it has well defined curative solutions, it always emphasizes on preventive measures for hale and healthy life.
“One can have same disease for different reasons. “
To ascertain this, a preliminary diagnosis of naadi (Humoral pathology) will reveal the issues related to the cause of obesity. In case of women with poly cystic problems will be having obesity due to hormonal problem, where the treatment has to be given for both the problems. Generally older persons with diabetes also have the issue of overweight, where treatment has to be concentrated for both. Many a times the trigger point for obesity is not a physiological but rather psychological. Poor parenting results in binge eating and other eating disorders among the children, resulting obesity at younger age. So counseling on lifestyle and food habits are also advised as a part of treatment.
“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”
So even though siddha system of medicine is replete with medicines either herbal or herbo-mineral or metallic or salt based to cure obesity, it always prefers the preventive measure of eating right food at right time i.e. உணவே மருந்து – மருந்தே உணவு in English it is said
“let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
When it comes to the medicines administered for the treatment of obesity in Siddha system, from simple herbal preparations to higher order.
Guidelines to support weight loss medicines
- Include barley, green gram, red gram, horse gram for regular intake.
- Honey is recommended in minor doses.
- Eat vegetables with astringent, bitter and pungent taste; soups made of such vegetables hasten the weight loss process.
- Including spices like turmeric, black pepper, ginger and rock salt in cooking is advised.
- Take more of raw vegetable, fruit salads especially before food.
- Avoid sweets and sugared cold drinks, alcohol, deep fried foods and non – vegetarian foods.
- Avoid usage of curds and use buttermilk instead.
- An active lifestyle is very important to prevent and manage weight therefore involve yoga and exercises and lot of physical work by self.
- Staying awake at night and sleeping in the day also causes obesity; therefore, it has to be avoided.
- Colon cleansing and purgation over a period of time helps in cleansing the body and subsides weight gain.
Be aware of
- Don’t fall prey for fast food promotion.
- Try to identify Indian fast food and avoid it.
- Understand products and contents using nutritional Labeling.
- Prevalence of generalized & abdominal obesity in urban & rural India- the ICMR-INDIAAB study by Rajendra Pradeepa , Ranjit Mohan Anjana , Shashank R. Joshi.
- Fast Food Consumption in Children by Jaya Shankar Kaushik, Manish Narang and Ankit Parakh.
- Paper: Prevalence of generalized & abdominal obesity in urban & rural India- the ICMR-INDIAAB study (phase-1) [icmr-indiab-3]Author: Rajendra Pradeepa , Ranjit Mohan Anjana , Shashank R. Joshi