by The Welthi Bureau | 24 NOV 2017
Dr Preeti Sharma, consultant pediatrician at KIMS Cuddles talks about how gadgets, junk food and lack of physical activity are leading the children to obesity on World Anti-Obesity Day observed on November 26, 2017 Diet, gadgets, easy access to junk food, reduced physical activity are few of the major reasons of childhood obesity these days. The incidence of childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in urban India.
Approximately 20 % of children are overweight or obese with the incidence being even more in urban areas and children from private schools. Childhood obesity is a forerunner of metabolic syndrome, poor physical health, mental disorders, respiratory problems and glucose intolerance, all of which can track into adulthood.
Children have easy access to junk food and processed foods. Fresh fruits are being replaced by processed fruit juices. These processed juices have extremely high sugar content. The traditional Indian diet of vegetables, daal, rice, chapati, salads, fruits, curd, milk is a very wholesome and nutritious diet.
Many families now eat out or order fast food up to 2-3 times in a week. Parents add additives to milk thinking they will increase the nutritive value of milk, but what it actually does is to add more calories. Another major factor contributing to obesity is increased screen time. Children have access to smart phones, tablets, laptops, video games and television. All these are highly addictive and have drastically reduced the time for outdoor play in the last few years. Also while watching screen, children tend to overeat. Some children even when they are outdoors, you will find they are hooked to their phones.
Physical activity of at least 1 hour after school is a must and screen time should be restricted to less than one hour every day. Parents are the role models for children. It is very important for the entire family to eat healthy and exercise regularly. There should be no or minimal junk food in the house. On weekends the whole family should play some game or go for cycling/ jogging. Eating out should be restricted to just once a week and parents should avoid being glued to their laptops/ phones/ i pads in front of their children. It sets a bad example and then they follow the same.
Schools, parents and we as a society need to bring a change in the diet and lifestyle habits of our children on priorty. Otherwise as an international study predicts India will have 17 million obese children by 2025 and will stand second in childhood obesity among 184 countries in the world.
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