Obesity amongst Children in India

Obesity is not limited to adults instead it is rising at an alarming rate amongst Children. Health effects of childhood obesity can be both psychological and physiological. Childhood obesity can significantly increase the risk of a child developing depression; it can also result in early onset of obesity-related conditions seen in obese adults. Some of the conditions that are associated with obesity include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sleep apnoea and cancer etc.

Childhood obesity also increases likelihood of child growing into an obese adult. Research says that around 70% of obese children remain obese even when they grow up. As such, childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death as well as disability in adulthood.

The rising rate of childhood obesity is a warning sign that children not only need to learn healthy lifestyle practices, but they also need support from parents, teachers and their communities. It all starts with environmental changes and that can take place at all levels. Simple changes can make a big difference and over time they can help obese children lose weight and regain their health.

The most influential people in a young child’s life is his or her parents. An overweight child can benefit greatly from having the proper support at home. Parents can educate themselves and their children on healthier food choices. Simple behavioral modification helps children eat less and move more to lose weight and lower their BMI. Replace treats and soda with fruits and vegetables. Make exercise a fun part of the day that the family shares together. Limit time spent on TV, the Internet and video games and involve kids more in out door activities. Advertisement of Cadbury chocolate is apt in current times but chocolate shouldn’t be the reward for it else the whole purpose would be lost.

It’s important that the child isn’t put on a diet. Instead, focus on positive lifestyle changes that the whole family will follow. Promote acceptance and health rather than focusing on their weight or BMI. Set goals for the family and reward family members for their achievements.

Diabetes a result of our Food Preferences

Everyone is aware that India is at the cusp of a Diabetes Epidemic. A lot of effort needs to be put in by all individuals, government agencies and other health care bodies to address this major issue in front of us. But are we doing enough or in our schools, offices or at home? I think not. Still the same junk food is available in school canteens, office canteens. Even at homes, our kitchens are being invaded by noodles, colas, biscuits, namkeens etc.

Although an apple a day keeps doctor away was taught to all of us when we are young but we all have forgotten it and don’t prefer to have that apple. Instead we all prefer to have chat, samosa, pakoras or bhatura chola as evening snack. What has changed all of us? Although we all are aware of the ill effects of this but somehow ignore it to satisfy our taste buds. In fact when my kid started going to school guest lecture was that by a child nutritionist and she emphasized on food items that kids should avoid to keep problems like obesity and diabetes at bay (yes even children are suffering from Diabetes nowadays).

This lecture was organized by the school hoping to give some lesson to children and their parents. But later on the same school administration organized a fest and all the stalls in the fest just had plain junk food and no healthy food options et all. Anyway may be we can say that people in a party would like to enjoy their meals and satisfy their taste buds and not concentrate on the health foods but the same school also sent a Fast Food Chain’s 50% coupon in every kid’s almanac sending mixed signals. If that is the culture schools want to promote then how can Parents stop children from eating junk food.

Talking about offices, all the offices nowadays want to increase productivity of their workers but what exactly do people get in their canteens? Samosas, Burgers, Patties and other fried stuff. Does this stuff actually help office goers increase their efficiency? Does this food make people think fast after they have it or does it make them feel heavy and drowsy? I don’t think any of the office administration guy has ever thought about these issues. Why can’t offices do a complete makeover of their canteens and not only help their employees be more productive and efficient but at the same time also gain from increased productivity.

Is it just the laziness or attitude problem. I think some out of box thinking is required to solve these problems. No one can say that healthy snack options are expensive or are difficult to make or can’t be made available hygienically. I think some restaurants have started serving calorie counted meals but is that enough or does that require a mindset change of people. I am leaving readers of this blog with some unsolved questions and would love to hear from them their thoughts.