Obesity and Syndrome X: A Global Public Health Burden

Mithun Das, Ph.D. (Editor)
Department of Anthropology, Sree Chaitanya College, Habra, West Bengal, India

Kaushik Bose, Ph.D. (Panjab); Ph.D. (Cantab); D.Sc. (Vidyasagar) (Editor)
Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India

Series: Public Health in the 21st Century
BISAC: MED107000




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Obesity is a major risk for both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, and evidence suggests that the situation is likely to get worse in both developed and developing countries. It is considered to be a predisposing factor for several chronic diseases which include CVD, ischemic stroke, hypertension, T2DM, vascular dysfunction, and proinflammatory and prothrombotic state. This is where Syndrome X intersects with obesity and plays the role of a common denominator for CVD and T2DM. Persons with Syndrome X are more susceptible to CVD & T2DM.

It is particularly relevant to recognize that variation in disease susceptibility among individuals in the population at large is a consequence of the intersection of the distribution of genotypes with the distribution of past environmental exposures and future environmental trajectories. For instance, many individuals who have a genotype that is found in those with disease will remain healthy because of the compensatory effects of a different environmental history on the same initial conditions. Similarly, individuals who do not have a high risk genotype may develop a disease of an adverse environmental history. That is, interaction between a particular genotype and particular environmental exposures.

In the thrifty genotype hypothesis as proposed by Neel (1962), entire populations have an increased predisposition to T2DM due to genetic selection. They are better adapted to different nutritional circumstances than those they experience today. In the thrifty phenotype hypothesis (also known as Barker’s Hypothesis), maladaptive responses occur as a result of environmentally induced alteration of physiology in the early life of the individual. Both hypotheses offer explanations of why the frequency of diabetes and obesity may differ in different populations and why predisposition to diabetes is common, albeit by very different mechanisms. A third hypothesis called the “common soil” hypothesis as mentioned by Lebovitz (2006) that diabetes and CVD might share an underlying cause(s) is also described. Insulin resistance is central both to the progression from normal glucose tolerance to T2DM and to a constellation of CVD risk factors known as Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome. Then there is the epigenome that directly impacts gene expression and can be modified by both genetic and environmental factors. It is the potentially heritable changes in gene expression that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequences – a change in phenotype without a change in genotype. The epigenoytpe is dynamic and varies over time and tissues as a result of environmental exposure, aging, and diseases and other factors.

The present book is an assembly of the vast knowledge that has been generated over the last decade worldwide in the field of obesity and metabolic syndrome related disorders, and an attempt to translate research findings into a clinically useful tool for better diagnosis, intervention, and prevention of this global public health burden. We hope this book will not only expand the practice in the coming years, but that it will create new avenues for future research as well.


Chapter 1. Associations with Obesity in Sub-Saharan Africa
(Yacoob K. Seedat, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa)

Chapter 2. Metabolic Syndrome in the Philippines and Asia: Concepts and Concerns
(Gabriel V. Jasul, Jr., Rosa Allyn G. Sy and Rodolfo F. Florentino, Clinical Associate Professor, University of the Philippines College of Medicine. Head, Diabetes, Thyroid and Endocrine Center, St. Luke's Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines, and others)

Chapter 3. Body Mass Index, Percent Body Fat and Fat Mass Index as Screening Tools for General Obesity among Adult Females of Amritsar (Punjab)
(Ramanpreet Randhawa and Sharda Sidhu, Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India)

Chapter 4. The Association of Central Adiposity with Metabolic Syndrome among the Bhutias of Sikkim, India
(Sovanjan Sarkar and Barun Mukhopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal, India, and others)

Chapter 5. Bisexual Differences in the Association of Adiposity Measures with the Risk of Hypertension among the Tribes of Gujarat, India
(Gautam K. Kshatriya, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India)

Chapter 6. Obesity as an Important Predictor of Hypertension among Rajshahi University Students in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study
(Md. Golam Hossain, Md. Sadekur Rahman, Suhaili Mohd, Saw Aik, Rashidul Alam Mahumud, Premananda Bharati and Pete E. Lestrel, Health Research Group, Department of Statistics, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh, and others)

Chapter 7. Increasing Incidence of Macrosomia: The Impact of Maternal Somatic and Behavioral Parameters on Newborn Weight Status
(Sylvia Kirchengast, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)

Chapter 8. Metabolic Disorder and Type-2 Diabetes Associations with Anthropometric Measures among Adult Asian Indians
(Sampriti Debnath, Nitish Mondal and Jaydip Sen, Department of Anthropology, University of North Bengal, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, and others)

Chapter 9. C-Reactive Protein and Family History: A Future Threat Towards Diabetes and Syndrome X
(Riddhi Goswami, Mithun Das and Indrani Lodh, Department of Biotechnology, Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata, India, and others)

Chapter 10. Sensitivity and Specificity of Body Mass Index to Assess Excess Adiposity
(Jyoti Ratan Ghosh, Department of Anthropology, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India)

Chapter 11. Framing Obesity and Undernutrition as Problems for Governments
(Stanley Ulijaszek, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University, UK)

Chapter 12. Modernization and Obesity: A Pandemic Issue
(Soibam Jibonkumar Singh and Thoudam Bedita Devi, Department of Anthropology, Manipur University, Manipur, India)

Chapter 13. Obesity and Syndrome X
(Anup Adhikari, Anthropometrica, Toronto, Canada)

Chapter 14. Syndrome X: Some Common Determinants Worldwide
(Mithun Das and Kaushik Bose, Department of Anthropology, Sree Chaitanya College, Habra, West Bengal, India, and others)


Audience: Biological anthropologists, human biologists, epidemiologists, clinicians, health care professionals

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