Child Obesity: A burgeoning barrier to healthy living

by Marshaneil Soumi D' Rozario | 11th October, 2018

child obesity a burgeoning barrier to healthy living
 Image used for representational purpose only


The World Obesity Day is celebrated on 11th October 2018 to promulgate awareness about the prevalence, severity, and diversity. India is home to the second highest number of obese children, after China. India has over 1.5Cr obese children. In southern metros, more than 1 in 5 children are already obese, not just overweight. The NFHS survey shows, obesity has doubled in India in the last ten years, with more than 26% (urban men) & 31% (urban women) already overweight or obese. While Telangana on an average is performing better than other states, Hyderabad has a skewed obesity problem. Only in rare cases is being overweight caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem.


Recent studies have shown that Overweight and Obesity is most prevalent in children above the age of five years. According to BMI (Body Mass Index), nearly 50% of the children between 5 and 18 years were overweight (31%), or obese (18.6%). The reasons were minimal physical activity, excessive intake of high-calorie junk food and aerated drinks, and excessive use of gadgets leading to a sedentary lifestyle. These children were morbidly obese by the time they were 16. Experts have been alarmed at the growing incidence of childhood obesity.


Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease at a younger age. Many co-morbid conditions like metabolic, cardiovascular, orthopedic, neurological, hepatic, pulmonary, and renal disorders are also seen in association with childhood obesity. Sugary beverages, snack foods/fast food, increased portion sizes, and a steady decline in physical activity, have been playing major roles in the rising rates of obesity all around the world. It is emerging convincingly that the genesis of Type 2 Diabetes and Coronary Heart Disease begins in childhood, with childhood obesity serving as an important factor.


Dr.Gopichand Mannam, MD Star Hospitals said "Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in developed as well as in developing countries, and excess weight and obesity in childhood are known to have a significant impact on a child's/adolescents physical and psychological health, social and emotional well-being, and self-esteem. It is also associated with poor academic performance".


Dr. Lakshmi Kanth T. Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgeon said, "The occasion of World Obesity Day on October 11th, 2018, Star Hospitals in association with The Rotary Club of Hyderabad North, is undertaking a Weight Loss Initiative for Children and Adolescents. This initiative aims to spread awareness about the growing threat of obesity amongst Children and Adolescents in our Country. Principals of schools and parents are invited to attend, to gain insights into the problem and the related solutions."


Experts have proposed a range of interventions to reduce obesity. Among them is restricting advertising of unhealthy foods to children and improving school meals. Children should be encouraged to participate in a more physical activity in school as well as outdoor. Overweight children need both food and love, and a healthy dose of understanding.  Good nutrition, exercise, and a lot of support, they can learn how to develop healthy eating habits and live happy healthy lives.

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