The Indian Medical Association has issued a statement to address the obesity epidemic, asking for public health action.
It also urged the government to provide free meals to those in need.
The association, a member body of the National Council for Welfare of People with Mental Illness (NCWPIM), said that in the past 10 years, the number of people in India being diagnosed with depression has more than doubled.
The NCWPIM says it has seen an increase in cases and suicides.
According to the NCWPIME, there are more than 12.7 lakh people with depression in India.
While most of them suffer from depressive disorders, there have been instances of individuals with mild to moderate symptoms, including sleep disorders, insomnia, and anxiety.
It says that these individuals are more likely to be obese, while those who are morbidly obese are also more likely for depression to develop.
“A holistic approach is required to tackle the problem and the most appropriate thing to do is to give free meals,” Dr A.S.R. Chandramouli, President of the NCPOM, said.
“There are also various other health-related issues to be addressed, like malnutrition, lack of adequate sleep, poor diet, poor hygiene and pollution, which are related to obesity and diabetes.”
He added that there is a need to provide a better understanding of the link between depression and obesity and the reasons behind these diseases.
“It is also important to ensure adequate access to medicines and medical treatment and to increase availability of nutritious food,” Dr Chandramoulsi said.
According to Dr Jitendra Prakash, MD, a professor at the Indian Medical College in Chennai, the NCPSIM is working to ensure that all people have the right to health and to nutrition.
“A lot of these illnesses, especially depression and anxiety, can be prevented if there is awareness of the importance of food and nutrition, he added.