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Why More People in Pakistan Are Becoming Obese

Ms. Sarah Farooqi

2 min read

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Obesity refers to the state of being fat or overweight. Fitness experts and nutritionists agree that a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more officially puts a person in the category of being obese. Obesity is dangerous as it can give rise to poor heart functioning. It can also cause several digestive and mental health issues.

A big part of world’s population is obese and the numbers are rising with each year. According to a report by WHO, more than 650 million people were obese worldwide in the year 2016. Out of these 41 million were children under the age of five. Obese children indicate a growing trend of obesity in the upcoming generations of young adults.

Pakistan, a developing country is also facing obesity regardless of limited resources available to the population. According to a study published in the Lancet Journal, Pakistan was at the 9th position regarding obesity.

A local survey has shown that 50% population of Pakistan is facing obesity which is also the main cause of diabetes in the country.

The rising trend of obesity in Pakistan is alarming and requires proper attention. This rising trend is due to a combination of multiple factors. Here are four reasons why Pakistani population is becoming obese.

1-Junk Food:

Junk food refers to food that is very low in nutritional value. This food usually comes in a packet and includes items that are deep fried or have high sugar content. Junk food has been directly linked with obesity by many researchers.

It is unhealthy and highly addictive because of high sugar content. Sugar is a carbohydrate which breaks down easily and gives a rush of energy. The body can get addicted to this rush and start craving it every few hours.

Pakistan is a nation where working class population is increasing. Working class are people who work hard and are usually very busy. These people also have enough money to afford junk food.

With less time and enough money, pre-packaged food becomes a popular choice. Millennials especially are getting addicted to junk food in Pakistan which explains 50% obese population in the country.

2-Sedentary lifestyle:

Another factor that plays into the rising trend of obesity is a sedentary lifestyle. Pakistani population is becoming more urban with time. This means that more people are leaving the agricultural lifestyle of the rural areas and are migrating towards cities.

An urban population means that more people now work in offices rather than in fields. A desk job reduces physical activity to zero giving way to obesity. The idea of exercising in a gym is propagating but it still has a long way to go. Thus a trend of a lazy lifestyle is pushing Pakistani population towards the obesity line.


One aspect of obesity in Pakistan is the use of simple carbs in the local diet. Pakistan is mainly an agrarian country which means that wheat, rice and pulses are the main elements of the diet.

All these crops have simple carbs which as explained earlier create sugar craving and lead to over-eating. A carbohydrate based diet combined with inactive lifestyles is making Pakistanis obese.

4-Mental health problems:

A big part of the population which is obese is young people. People in the millennial generation have problems that are very different from previous generations.

With social media on the rise, the new generation has to face problems like fear of missing out, anxiety, depression and body image issues. Exposure to content from worldwide influences young brains into adapting trends that are damaging to their mental health.

Disorders such as binge eating are more common than ever. These mental health problems lead youngsters to eat disproportionately making them obese.

If you are facing obesity or have a tendency to be overweight, you should visit a dietitian as soon as possible.

You can also book an  appointment with top nutritionists in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad at oladoc.com or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 to get directed to the specialists that can cater to your specific concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Ms. Sarah Farooqi - Author Ms. Sarah Farooqi is among the Best Nutritionists in Lahore. Sarah Farooqi is a leading Dietician at Shapes and Diet360. She worked as Nutritionist at Fatima Memorial Hospital previously. Sarah can be seen sharing her expertise in Shapes Newsletter and at seminars on various health and nutrition topics.

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