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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Indian Obesity Varies by Gender, Rural/Urban Divide

This policy brief presents the findings of a TCI study examining differences in the incidence of overweight within India according to biological, technological, and environmental factors. The study shows that overweight and obesity rates are tied to such variables as gender and the level of economic development where individuals reside. Biological factors, such as increasing age and diminishing reproductive stress (when a woman stops having children), are associated with obesity among women but not men.

Based on these results, TCI recommends that:

  • Policies and programs designed to reduce overweight and obesity rates should be targeted with respect to group- and community-based differences. For example, nutrition education programs should include age- and gender-appropriate counseling services and account for differences in intrahousehold access to food and obesogenic technologies.
  • Proactive campaigns that promote healthy, active lifestyles be used to counter the effects of urbanization, such as increased sedentary behavior.

Read the policy brief (PDF)