Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obesity is hurting India's children

Obesity is hurting India's children

A changing lifestyle has certainly taken a toll on your health but children are not far behind, as they too are now bearing the brunt of too much junk food consumption. Burger, pizzas, noodles, ice cream - well if this is what figures in your child's daily diet, then there is reason to worry. A study on a sample group of school children by Delhi's Fortis Hospital found 28% of kids were obese.

Doctors blame consumption of junk food as well as the sedentary lifestyle among children as a main cause of concern. Also their dietary pattern includes pre-packaged fatty foods. Experts advice that if adults themselves don't give up on fast food and quick-fix meals, there's only a slim chance that children may follow a healthy nutritive diet pattern. Also motivating children to go out and play or exercise will have no impact, if parents themselves are couch potatoes.

The number of obese children has gone up by about 12% in the past two years. There is an increase in the percentage of obese kids in the capital, according to a new study. Dr Anoop Misra is a director and head of the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospital and a WHO expert in childhood obesity. He and his team conducted a study on schoolchildren screened since October 2005.

Their findings revealed after one year, showed a drastic increase in the percentage of childhood obesity. It is 28% in 2006, while it was 16-18% in 2004. Students from government and public schools in Delhi were screened from November 2005 in this study called 'Medical Education for Children/Adolescents for Realistic Prevention of Obesity and Diabetes for Healthy Ageing'. 26% of the kids aged 14-17 years had Syndrome X, that is caused by obesity and is a precursor to diabetes. Totally, 1,168 students from 15 schools were screened.

'Obesity is the major cause for other problems. Nearly 50%-70% of the children will become obese adults and would suffer from diabetes, stroke, liver diseases, infertility, hypertension, arthritis and cancer. These children who have been found to be obese, also have a high risk of development of early heart diseases,' said principal dietician, Fortis Hospital, Shahi Mathur.

In the screening, it was found that the level of obesity was higher in public school students than the government school students. Well, it's not only your child's health, obesity can also effect your child's behaviour. Kids have become more conscious of their body image and obesity might make your child withdraw from the outside world.

The capital's economy may be booming, but the nutritional level of its citizens remains abysmal. As per figures revealed in the National Family Health Survey III conducted by 18 research organisations between December 2005 and August 2006, over 32.9% women and 24% men are obese, while those with a body mass index below normal stand at 10.6% in women and 10.4% in men.

This nutritional complication, resulting mainly from iron deficiency, makes people unusually weak and results in low productivity. Anaemia was found to affect 43% married women, 30% pregnant women and 19% men aged between 15-49 years in the capital. There's more. As many as 35.4% children under the age of three had stunted ( low height for age) growth, 15.5% were wasted (low weight-for-height) and 33.1% overweight or obese.

So, the moral of the story is get off the couch and play with your kids. Let them see you practice what you preach. Taking up a sport, which both you and your kids enjoy is also a great idea.

1 comment:

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