Obesity is hurting India's children
A casual stroll along Bangalore's Brigade Road, Mumbai's Linking Road, or Delhi's Vasant Vihar reveals more than a fair share of shapely midriffs and bulging biceps. An overweight Sanjeev Kumar might have been accepted as a hero in the seventies and the eighties, but its the likes of Salman Khan and Ranveer that rule today. And although a plump Hema Malini and Sridevi generated much excitement in their time, it now takes the lissome charms of Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor to send testosterone levels soaring.
Looks like Indians are finally getting serious about battling the bulge. Or are they?
Skepticism is warranted, for the drive to cut down on the inches has been inching up ever so slowly.
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
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.
'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,'
Causes of obesity in a nutshell
> Overeating and binging
> Poor choice of foods
> Being couch potatoes
> Family history of obesity
> Hormonal or endocrine or neurological problems
> Medications -steroids or psychiatric medications
> Stressful events, low self-esteem, depression, emotional problems, peer pressure, family problems -divorce of parents, separation abuse, death etc
Many factors usually working in combination increase your child's risk of becoming overweight:
Health consequences: Links between childhood overweight, chronic disease, and premature death
Excess weight can exert a profound and immediate effect on physical, mental, emotional, and social development:
Compared with normal-weight youths, overweight children and adolescents suffer disproportionately from such chronic conditions as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, bone/joint problems, and sleep apnea.
Overweight kids experience intense social stigmatization. Particularly among adolescent Caucasian girls, Hispanic girls, and boys of all races, childhood overweight is associated with lower self-esteem, a tendency to withdraw from others, increased loneliness, sadness, and nervousness, and increased use of alcohol and tobacco.
Severely overweight children are more than 5 times as likely as their healthy counterparts to have a lower health-related quality of life, i.e., their ability to move around, play sports, and perform in school, as well as their levels of fear and sadness, and the quality of their relationships with peers
Three effective approaches can be used to deal with this problem. These are: family-based, school-based and primary care-based interventions. Children often eat what their parents eat and parental eating behavior has a strong influence on children. Targeting families is, hence, important and should include not merely dietary approaches but also attempt to deal with sedentary behavior practices
Children spend a fair proportion of time in schools which makes school-based interventions important. These include encouraging schools to devote more time for physical education, promoting safe walking or cycling to school where possible, encouraging a positive attitude to activity and imparting skills to continue to be active in leisure sports after leaving school, and promoting an active school %u2018concept%u2019 by opening up its sports and recreational facilities for use of the community.
Primary care-based interventions when targeted properly can prevent the speed of obesity in children from a very young age. Providing mothers with appropriate advice about breastfeeding, weaning and diet for toddlers in primary care settings can not only prevent obesity in children but can also help manage the problem among mothers.
Childhood obesity is the prelude to a public health disaster that we will have to deal with in the new millennium. There is an urgent need to address the problem and now is the time to act. It makes more sense to prevent the epidemic of obesity and its attendant health problems than to invest in high tech tertiary care facilities to tackle the health burden associated with obesity. And we need to begin with our children -- the future adult citizens of a nation!
Tips for parents
> Choose fruits and vegetables instead of processed or convenience foods
> Stock up healthy snacks
> Never use food as a reward or punishment
> Select recipes and methods such as baking, roasting or steaming. Avoid deep frying
> Limit carbohydrates and fats. Limit the consumption. Add colourful veggies and fruits and whole-grain chapattis or breads
> Make meal time a family event. Do not eat in front of the television
> Limit recreational screen time to not more than two hours a day. Send your children to play outdoor games. Physical activity builds strong bones and muscles