Obesity increasing at alarming rate in Pakistan


Karachi: “Pakistan is one of those countries where obesity and diabetes are increasing at alarming rate; every one out of four Pakistanis is either obese or overweight. Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths.

At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Five out of 10 fatal diseases are associated with obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” these views were expressed by Dr. Rizwana Waraich, Assistant Professor at Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), while delivering a lecture on “Obesity – Related Diseases and Prevention” at the video conferencing hall of Latif Ebrahim Jamal (LEJ) National Science Information Centre on Saturday.

The lecture was jointly organised by PCMD and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) as a part of series of popular lectures for public awareness on common diseases of Pakistan. Health professionals, students, research scholars, NGO representatives and general public attended the lecture.

Dr. Waraich said that obesity is not just a cosmetic problem, it’s a health hazard. This is because obesity has been linked to several serious health ailments like heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer; once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, she added.

“Pakistan is one of those countries where obesity and diabetes are increasing at alarming rate. Our nation is now facing a “double burden” of disease, as we continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and under-nutrition; we are experiencing a rapid upsurge in non-communicable disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight, particularly in urban settings.

The fundamental causes of obesity are an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and a decrease in physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization,” she said.

Overweight and obesity are largely preventable; the intake of healthier foods, and regular physical activity are easiest ways to preven obesity.

She said, “In Pakistan obesity level among rural areas is found to be 9 percent in males and 14 percent in women, while in urban areas situation is quite alarming as the obesity level is found to be 22 percent in gents and 37 percent in women. The higher obesity level in urban areas is due to their changing life style, high fat and carbohydrate-rich diet and lake of exercise.”


  1. shalwar kameez is a floppy dress and promotes obesity too. and the oily puree halvah not to mention lassi and nehari also do not help. as for the mcdonaldization of society that is the most to blame. it is best to eat home made food and go cycling or walking to work and back. that’ll keep you fit as a fiddle.

  2. it was good topic…obesity she clarify it good..but i have one question..she didn't mentioned in lecture that smoking can also be risk factor for obesity…pl z if u people can clarify it..