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Natl Med J India. 2012 Jan-Feb;25(1):10-3.

Differences in consumption of food items between obese and normal-weight people in India.

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  • 1South Asia Network for Chronic Disease, C 1/52, First Floor, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi 110016, India.



There is a rising prevalence of obesity in India, and diet may be a major determinant of this. We aimed to assess differences in types and quantities of food items consumed by obese and normal-weight people in India.


Cross-sectional data of 7067 factory workers and their families were used from the Indian Migration Study, conducted in four cities across northern, central and southern India. Food frequency questionnaire data were used to compare the quantities of consumption of 184 food items between 287 obese (body mass index>30 kg/m2) and 1871 normalweight (body mass index 18.50-22.99 kg/m2) individuals, using t tests and ANCOVAs. Individuals with diabetes,hypertension and cardio-vascular disease were excluded. SPSS 16.0 was used for analysis.


After adjusting for age, sex, location and socioeconomic status, obese individuals were found to eat significantly larger quantities of 11 food items compared with normalweight individuals. These included phulkas, chapatis/parathas/naan, plain dosa, mutton/chicken pulao/biryani, chicken fried/grilled, rasam, mixed vegetable sagu, vegetable raitha, honey,beetroot and bottlegourd (p< 0.01). Consumption of plain milk was higher among normal-weight than among obese individuals (p< 0.05). Consumption of some of these food items was also found to increase by socioeconomic status, decrease by age, and be higher among men relative to women.


Obese individuals were found to consume larger quantities of certain food items compared with normal weight individuals. Interventions should aim at limiting overall food consumption among obese individuals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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