“As a professional organization that represents the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, who are practicing Medicine in the United States, one of our primary goals is to educate the public on diseases and their impact on health,” Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), said here. “With obesity proving to be a major epidemic affecting nearly one third of the nation’s population, we have a responsibility to save future generations by decreasing childhood obesity. And therefore, we at AAPI are proud to undertake this national educational tour around the United States, impacting thousands of children and their families.”
“American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has embarked on an ambitious plan, launching Global Obesity Awareness Campaign 2020, making this a global event by 10-10-2020 with goal to cover 100 cities in USA, 100 cities in India and 100 countries around the World,” Dr. Uma Koduri, AAPI’s Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign (COAC) Committee Chair, who has been in the forefront of the obesity awareness campaign for years now, explained.
Obesity causes early death as it leads to hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart attacks, strokes, some kinds of cancer and adversely affects almost all organs in the body. World Health Organization states that prevention is the most feasible option for curbing this obesity epidemic. Hence AAPI is trying “To Educate to Empower” as “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”.
Major contributors for the success of AAPI’s obesity awareness campaign over the years was Dr. Uma Koduri, who had organized the pilot programs for childhood obesity in USA in 2013, childhood obesity in India in 2015 and Veteran obesity in USA in 2017 with the help of Drs. Sanku Rao, Jayesh Shah, Aruna Venkatesh for childhood obesity, Vikas Khurana, Satheesh Kathula for Veteran obesity, and Janaki Srinath, Uma Chitra, Avanti Rao for childhood obesity in India.
Presently, AAPI Obesity Committee’s Chair is Dr. Uma Koduri and co-chairs are Drs. Padmaja Adusumili (Veteran obesity), Pooja Kinkabwala (Childhood obesity) and Uma Jonnalagadda (Adult obesity) with chief advisors Dr. Kishore Bellamkonda and Dr. Lokesh Edara.
“People of Indian origin are recognized for their great innovation and professional skills. We at AAPI want to create awareness on health issues that are of importance to India, and the entire humanity, particularly on Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Trauma & Head Injury, and Mental Health issues, including Depression. Bridging the gap between clinical research and medical practice is central to AAPI’s mission, while working towards sustaining & securing financial growth. We, the physicians of Indian origin in the United States, have a duty to nurture the present for a prosperous future,” Dr. Reddy added.
Dr. Seema Arora, current Chair of AAPI’s BOT, stated, “Obesity is a major public health problem in the United States. Changing one’s diet is not something that happens overnight. An important first step is helping a children, youth and adults recognize the problem. What had started off in 2011 at 11-11-11-11-11-11 seconds as AAPI Health Walkathons were held in 5 Continents – Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America was successfully completed in 2020 by Obesity Walkathons by Dr. Suresh Reddy in the remaining 2 Continents – South America and Antarctica.”
Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President-Elect of AAPI, who wants to carry on the mission to newer heights under his presidency starting in July 2020, said, “The impact and role of AAPI in influencing policy makers and the public is ever more urgent today. AAPI being the largest ethnic medical organization in USA and the second largest organized medical association after AMA, we have the power and responsibility to influence the state and the public through education for health promotion and disease prevention,” he added.
AAPI’s fight against obesity was inaugurated with Yellow theme on 12-12-12. Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Vice President of AAPI, said, “Since the launch of the Obesity Awareness Campaign in 2012, AAPI has come a long way in this wear yellow for obesity awareness campaign educating thousands of people, by more than 100 school events across 15 major States in USA, 12 major school events in India, 12 major events for our Veterans and countless number in USA and in India at conventions, meetings, festivals and other gatherings.”
May 25, 2020 is being observed as the Global Wear Yellow Day for Obesity Awareness & Health, showcasing Yellow for Energy, Motivation, Hope, Optimism, Joy and Happiness. AAPI’s theme and campaign around the world is to: “Be Healthy, Be Happy.” And, the “Secret to Living Longer is to Eat half, Walk double, Laugh triple and Love without measure.”
According to Dr. Ravi Kolli, Secretary of AAPI, “AAPI has physicians in almost every city and town of USA. With this extensive network we should be able to spread message on childhood obesity by following the template plan. We are also exploring the use of social media and phone ‘apps’ as healthy lifestyle tools.” Dr. Raj Bhayani, Treasurer of AAPI, called obesity a form of “terror” from within us. “If we do not run, obesity will run behind us,” he said.
AAPI members and their family and friends all over the world will organize obesity walkathons with yellow theme on May 25, 2020 (If not feasible, do any time until 10-10-2020). Choose major monument or highlight of the city as location of the event and take group pictures there with AAPI banner/logo.
They will provide educational handouts on obesity including the 5210 concept: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary beverages.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. According to Center for Disease Control Prevention, the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012, while among adolescents aged 12–19 years, the obesity rate increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, having excess body weight and fat, which are the result of caloric imbalance and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.
Moving forward, AAPI plans to organize such Obesity Walkathon events in at least in 100 schools in India and eventually the world making it an Obesity Revolution to educate and empower everyone to prevent obesity and lead healthy lives and make positive contributions to their communities.
Today, more than one-third of the entire adult population in USA is classified to be obese. What’s even worse is that almost one in every three children is obese or overweight before reaching 5thbirthday. Consequences of childhood obesity include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes, which can shorten the lifespan of our children. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity leading to this childhood obesity epidemic.
The enormous cost, $200 Billion a year, is being spent spent in addressing the obesity problem in the country. This new initiative by AAPI and its partners is a way to educate AAPI members of the problems and create awareness among them and enable them to work towards preventing obesity among veterans and the larger population.
According to Dr. Koduri, in the years to come, “As Yellow stands for energy, motivation, hope, optimism, joy and happiness, AAPI has chosen this color to promote obesity awareness similar to how American Heart Association chose Red for heart disease. We believe that tackling the Childhood Obesity problem is like “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Dr. Suresh Reddy says, “In partnership with local governments, non-governmental agencies and schools around the nation, AAPI plans to embark on this campaign that will identify high prevalence, with the objective of promoting awareness of Childhood Obesity and offering educational resources to promote healthy lifestyle. In addition, it will also work towards advocating policy changes to help build a healthier community.”
AAPI is a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs. For more details on AAPI’s Global Obesity Awareness Campaign, please visit: www.aapiusa.org