MRI to launch overweight and obesity study

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

In response to the growing number of people, in the country, being either overweight or obese, the Medical Research Institute (MRI) has planned to launch a weight reduction research, through 6,000 people countrywide, for the first time in its history, MRI Director Dr. Anil Samaranayake said yesterday (04).   

He told The Island that MRI had planned to launch the weight reduction research in the 3rd week of this month, to assist and inspire Sri Lankans on their journey to a holistic and effective weight loss programme.

Meanwhile, June has been declared as the National Nutrition Month, by the Health Ministry and this year has been named as the Year of preventing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Overweight and obesity were complex disorders involving chronic excess food intake relative to the level of energy spent, Dr. Samaranayake said.

"One can determine whether he is obese or overweight by means of different parameters. This includes the Body Mass Index (BMI)," the MRI Director said. 

Education and awareness were important to help guide Sri Lankans to make the right choices when it came to their diet and lifestyle, he said adding that many Sri Lankans were overweight or obese and that meant higher risk of other health complications, including hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, cancer, and much more.    

Dr. Samaranayake explained, "First we will recruit 6,000 people for the research and then check their BMI value and select the overweight people among them. Then, examine their basic health conditions including cholesterol, pressure and diabetic levels. After selecting the suitable people we will provide them a free package including gym facilities and dietary plans to reduce their weight." 

He also said that the MRI had taken steps to launch the programme to prevent and control obesity and its complications through education, research, and advocacy. 

According to the Health Ministry, fifteen per cent of Lankan schoolchildren and 22 per cent of women were overweight. 

However, overweight and obesity rank fifth among the leading causes for global deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.8 million adults die each year from being overweight and obese. 

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