India 20 November 2016: Obesity is most often a result of unhealthy practices such as overeating and the lack of exercise which has become a part of the modern lifestyle globally. While it has been a much talked about in the West, it’s been largely ignored that India and other developing countries, too, are seeing growing numbers of people above their healthy body mass index and as a result, suffering from diabetes and other health issues related to being overweight.
In today’s fast paced and result oriented world, lack of time to exercise due to a stressful work culture in almost every sphere of employment often leads to unhealthy employees who are tired and irritable for reasons they don’t quite understand.
People often sacrifice sleep to meet a deadline without a second thought. But lack of sleep is a big reason for weight gain. If a person doesn’t get their forty winks, their body is unable to produce hormones that help relieve stress. This in turn leads to tiredness, irritability. Such people will look for quick energy fixes high in carbohydrates and sugar, but low in nutrition. The more you forgo your sleep, the worse your lifestyle choices become, it’s a vicious cycle.
The American Journal of Physiology says that a large number of people have their meals in a sympathetic state. This means their central nervous system is always under stress while they eat. This hinders digestion and eventually leads to weight gain.
Psychological issues like depression, certain prescriptions medicines like birth control pills, an imbalance in one’s hormones, taking steroids are among other factors that contribute to the current global obesity crisis.
These are real concerns that affect every day Indians, but often health issues go unnoticed till they become out of control. One solution to this, before it becomes unfixable, is to accept the problem, and then tackle it head-front. Go for a walk, take a breath of fresh air, exercise, switch off your phone, stay active. Put your health first, because at the end of the day — without health, everything else is useless.
Combating obesity is not going to be easy in India, a country that’s currently ranked the third-most overweight location in the world, after the US and China. And an increasing sedentary lifestyle amongst Indians is to blame for many of the health issues that plague us. According to studies, if you’re sitting for 6-7 hours a day, the risk of heart attacks, cancer and a shorter life span are higher, even if you exercise. On the other hand, a knowledge paper “Obesity in the Indian context” by VLCC reveals that reducing sitting time and standing for an hour can help burn approximately 50 extra kilocalories. So by standing for two hours a day for a year one can lose more than 25,000 calories (that is running at least 6 marathons), or nearly three kgs.
At VLCC we observed that around 95 per cent of our clients between 2012 and 2015 were in the productive age group of 20 to 60 years. So this increase in working population in India coincides with the rise in chronic diseases, most of which are linked to obesity.
The biggest challenge is that most people typically do not seek healthcare until a medical problem linked to their weight is detected - from hypertension or diabetes to numerous other lifestyle disorders. It’s shocking but many of clients who come to our centres have a medical condition either directly or indirectly related to their weight that they are unaware of, and discover this only after a counselling session with the doctors at our centres.
Observations in the New England Journal of Medicine make an interesting suggestion that obesity could be “socially contagious.” I believe that mankind is smarter than allowing ourselves to fall into the obesity trap.
On Anti-Obesity Day, which is observed on 26th November, let us pledge to spread awareness about the dangers of excessive weight gain.
The author is Founder, VLCC
The beauty and wellness industry is witnessing a boom globally. The wellness industry in India is poised to touch INR. 1,00,000 crore (Rs 1 trillion) by 2015, with a compounded annual growth rate of 15-17%, from about INR 70,000 crore in 2012 with a likely shortage of 600,000 skilled personnel by 2016. FICCI-PwC report had forecast that the number of people employed in the Wellness space could potentially almost treble from over 1 million lakh in 2011 to 3 million by 2015.
However, the biggest challenge for this sector is skilled manpower. The talent gap in this sector is not unanticipated, considering that the Indian beauty and wellness sector is largely unorganized and fragmented with inadequate attention paid to quality. This challenge is further validated by KPMG Human Resource and Skill Requirement report for the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which states that the workforce requirement in this sector in India is likely to triple in the next 8 years - from 4.21 million in 2013 to 7.39 million in 2017 and to 14.27 million by 2022.
Recognizing the reality, a not-for-profit organization Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&W SSC) is promoted by CII with financial support from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The council acts as an added impetus and the fulcrum for all skill development-related activities connected with the Indian beauty and wellness sector.
Focusing on skill development through training programs will help to improve the quality of service delivery in this domain by ensuring consistency of standards besides creating jobs. We also aim to aggressively partner with Private Enterprise and PSUs on CSR projects aimed at providing livelihood through skill based training. By 2023, the B&W SSC aims to accredit 390 Training organizations, train 2,200 trainers, and certify a workforce of almost 1.67 million. It serves as an impetus to ensure that B&W sector’s vocational proficiency is par excellence and is backed by holistic skill-development. Also, this will help to reduce the skill deficit in the industry. The holder of the B&WSSC certificate has an edge over competition as they enjoy multiple job opportunities because employers are more receptive to hiring staff that have gone through a recognized assessment and certification process.
As the Chairperson of the B&W SSC and the founder and vice-chairperson of VLCC, I’m happy to say that I can already foresee the process of shaping a ‘New India’ by establishing an effective and efficient eco-system for development and imparting of skills for Beauty and Wellness industry. For instance, VLCC Institutes entered its 15th year of operation and we find employment opportunities for students improving overtime. Our network of 73 VLCC Institutes across India and Nepal provide skilled manpower to the wellness industry at large. Students are absorbed across industry depending on the job role, students emerging from top-tier skilling institutions get attractive salary packages ranging anywhere between INR 10,000 to INR 15,000/-.
All of this is backed by the huge transformational scheme the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), which aims to make India the ‘Skills Capital’ of the world by 2022. This puts focus on skill development in this domain therefore can contribute towards the cause of women empowerment and also strengthen the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative. This will equip women with the skills that would allow them to find employment opportunities and promote financial inclusion through government schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
While we can clearly see that vocational training in this sector has become the base to encourage youth, women and men to participate in more of these training programs to get empowered with skills that ensure they get an attractive job and/or are geared to run their own businesses. Today, the need of the hour requires all organized players in this industry to come together on a national platform to engage, enroll and employ youth, women and men in this sector.