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New Delhi, October 12, 2017: In 2016, an Official data in had revealed that over 41 million children below the age of 5 were affected by obesity. Without due attention and efficient treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, with an increased risk of developing a host of diseases and physical and psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death.
In view of an escalating number of people constantly coming under the ambush of obesity, and with childhood obesity becoming a cause of worry globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on October 4, emphasizing the growing importance of healthcare experts and professionals, underlining their positive role in helping kids and teenagers fight the global menace.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is defined as ‘excess adipose tissue’. In other words, it is a body-weight disorder involving excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems. In case a person’s body-weight is nearly 20 per cent higher than it should be, he is considered obese.
There are different ways to calculate excess adipose tissue, the most common one being the Body Mass Index.
Overweight – BMI greater than or equal to 25
Obesity – BMI greater than or equal to 30
According to data obtained by WHO, one half of all overweight children or obese children lived in Asia, and one-quarter of the total obese children lived in Africa.
According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot.
The global menace continues to rise rapidly in low and middle-income countries.
Also Read: Obesity leads to 13 types of Cancer, including that of Pancreas and Esophagus: Study
The new report released by WHO on October 4 is titled ‘Assessing and Managing Children at Primary Healthcare Facilities to Prevent Overweight and Obesity in the Context of the Double Burden of Malnutrition’.
The report provides guidelines and updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guidelines attempt to confine the spread of childhood obesity from expanding further, and prescribe undertaking proper assessment of dietary habits along with weight and height measurements. It also recommends dieting and proper counseling by healthcare experts.
Recommendations by WHO
WHO has recommended that primary healthcare facilities should be made available to all children below the age of 5 years and infants. These should include measurement of both weight and height of the children to determine their weight-for height and nutritional status as previously defined by WHO child growth standards.
For children and infants identified as overweight, healthcare experts should provide counseling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity, which includes creating awareness about healthy practices like exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continuing the practice until 2 years or more.
WHO also prescribes that an appropriate management plan should be devised to counter the menace in obese children. This can be developed by a trained health worker at primary healthcare facilities, or local hospitals.
Healthy Eating Tips to Fight Obesity
Here are a few healthy eating tips that will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also prove be be beneficial for your metabolism, physical strength and general well-being,
Refrain from unnecessary indulgences or random snacking and encourage healthy snacking choices like popcorns, yogurt, fruits, etc.
Reduce your sugar intake to less than 10 per cent of the total calories for an individual with normal weight.
Consume a gracious serving of seasonal vegetables and fruits everyday that are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Make healthy food selections- include whole grain products, avoid excessive use of oil and salt and refrain from processed or packaged food.
A balanced diet must be complimented with regular exercise to counter unnecessary weight gain
– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala