It seems the menfolk in Kerala are fighting a losing battle against obesity, thanks to their sedentary lifestyle and consumption of junk food.

Kerala was once known for its impressive human development index (HDI), which matched countries in the West. However, a recent National Family Health Survey (NHFS) shows that the state population's waistline is getting bigger and it's the men who are leading the trend.

According to the survey, the number of men with obesity has increased by 10.6 per cent points (from 17.9 to 28.5) in Kerala in the last 10 years. The number of obese women, on the other hand, has risen only at 4.3 per cent points from 28.1 to 32.4 during the same period.

Though there are several instances of genetic disorders causing a person to gain weight, obesity among Keralites is chiefly caused by the lack of a healthy lifestyle. Intake of high-calorie food and no regular exercises play a key role, it has been found.

A good number of the Kerala youth, who are mostly into desk jobs these days, consider being obese as only a matter of looks. Despite being a tech-savvy bunch, there is a general lack of awareness about the problems that obesity creates. 

Obesity is a major cause of increased incidence of diabetes and hypertension among other lifestyle diseases, and perhaps it's no surprise that Kerala now holds the first place in the prevalence of both these diseases, according to the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau.

"Obesity is not seen as a threat now. People often think it’s a matter of looks and decide they don’t care about it," a report in The New Indian Express quoted Prasad Krishnan, a bariatric surgeon at Aster Medcity in Kochi, as saying. "However, the real issue lies with the health of a person, who will have trouble in walking, breathing and sleeping. The chances of obese people getting a stroke are also high.”