NEW DELHI: The pandemic has contributed to an increase in obesity rates as weight loss programmes (which are often delivered in groups) and referred interventions such as surgery are being severely curtailed.

Importantly, the current crisis and the need for self-isolation is prompting many to rely on processed food with longer shelf life (instead of fresh produce) and canned food (with higher quantities of sodium). One might notice an increase in weight if this pattern of lifestyle persists for a longer period of time.

So what should a person do to stay healthy and make one stronger in these times? Dr Sharad Sharma, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi gives a few recommendations:

Proper nutrition and hydration vital

Those who consume a well-balanced diet are healthier and are able to build stronger immune system. A healthy diet limits the risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases.

  • It is recommended to eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to accomplish the body’s requirement of necessary vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, proteins and antioxidants.
  • Consume whole grains and legumes — this also reduces the risk of diabetes.
  • Drink ample water — at least 5 litres per day.
  • Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of being overweight, and obese.
  • Do not consume sugar-sweetened beverages and limit intake of oily food.

Staying active

While the stay at home order has restricted our outdoor movements, it is important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible.

  • Avoid sitting or slouching all the time.
  • Every 20 minutes, move around for 3-5 minutes; walk or stretch — this will help reduce the strain on a muscle, relieve any form of mental tension and will help circulate blood to the body.
  • Muscle activity increases if you are physically active, reducing the risk of speedy weight gain.
  • More vigorous free exercises are also great ways to remain active at home.

In current times focussing on good health, food habits and maintaining some level of physical activity will go a long way in warding off obesity.