Childhood obesity is an epidemic in India. The rampant consumption of junk food, not sticking to a nutritious diet, not having proper sleep patterns and leading a sedentary lifestyle is taking a toll on the health of the people, especially that of children. Central Government recently formed a committee to step up the rules and regulations regarding junk food consumption, ensuring that children receive a nutritious diet, and move away from the junk food consumption culture. Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Dr Nihar Parekh, Paediatrician, Founder of SOCC (Second-Opinion Online Consultation for Children) and Co-founder of Cheers Child Care, addressed the seriousness of obesity in children – “Obese children are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and joint problems. Obesity can lead to low self-esteem, body image issues, and increased susceptibility to depression and anxiety, affecting children’s mental well-being.” He further added that childhood obesity can have long-term impacts in adulthood as well, such as increasing the risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Harmful effects of junk food
Dr Jyothsna P, Consultant Paediatrician, Apollo Clinic, Nizampet added that the impact of junk food on children is dangerous. “The consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods typical of the junk food culture contributes to childhood obesity. Obesity can lead to a range of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and more. Junk foods are often high in sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, while being low in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Excessive consumption of junk food can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients necessary for a child’s growth and development. Poor dietary habits can have an impact on mental health as well.”
Diet tips to manage obesity in kids
Dr. Prakash Vemgal, Director of the Department of Neonatology and Paediatrics, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Bannerghatta, Bangalore shared a few diet tips for children to combat obesity:
Balanced diet: The key is to make sure there is a mix of different foods in the meal. Plenty of fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy should be consumed.
Portion sizes: Mindful eating habits should be developed by the parents guiding the children to tune into their body’s hunger and fullness signals, rather than depending solely on external cues like portion sizes.
Sugar and processed food consumption: Limiting sugary and processed foods is another key point. These foods don’t provide much nutrition and can lead to putting on weight.
Physical exercise: Incorporating regular physical activity is crucial, too. Engaging children in activities they enjoy, whether it’s dancing, biking, or playing a sport. Limit screen time and encourage outdoor play to keep them active and engaged.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com