Sunday December 8, 2019

Obesity in Children – Global Public Health Problem (Challenges in India)

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Lose weight now

By Dr.J.K. Bhutani

Obesity in children is rapidly spreading across the globe as public health problem. The prevalence of over-weight and obesity has increased steadily over the past 30 years, almost doubling in the children and more so in adolescents where it has probably trebled. Earlier the problem of developed economies like USA and Europe, the epidemic is fast increasing in developing economies like India and China. India, a developing economy is already burdened with more than 20 million obese people and the number is increasing every year.

What are the etiological risk factors?

Obesity is essentially a state of excess adipose tissue mass. Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” mostly which means too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. In addition, it is also affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Globally, there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars but low in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients. With increased prosperity there has been a decrease in physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary and luxurious inactive life. The calories consumed are far more than are spent in “Computer/TV/Car and lack of physical activity routine” of most of the children. The lack of patronage to sports by elected governments in furthering careers has decreased interest of young people in physical activity. The developing urban clusters, with less open spaces and parks also have put physical activity and street-park games to almost oblivion. The most important consequence of childhood obesity is its persistence into adulthood with all its health risks. The health risks include diabetes, hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases, stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea etc.

Public health intervention strategies

World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the 2008-2013 Action Plans for the global strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases including the WHO Global Strategy on diet, physical activity and health. The aim is to address the common public health problem of obesity and its consequent morbidity and mortality. India is experiencing a rapid health transition with a rising burden of non-communicable diseases for which a National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, CVD and Stroke has been launched in 2008. The emphasis of this program is to educate about overweight and obesity as well.

National Sports Development Code of India -2011, lays stress on encouraging and patronizing sports at school/college levels and suggesting legislation to include sports and physical education/activity as an essential activity at CBSE/ISC curriculum schools. The NCERT is forming the guidelines for the schools regarding compulsory physical education.

What can be done in India

We all know the cause of obesity epidemic and we all know that if appropriate actions are taken, it can be prevented. Large scale awareness about the weight and BMI targets can easily be spread taking help of media (print, TV/Satellite and web resources).

The elected governments can provide supportive environment and participation at community level regarding healthier choices of foods and regular physical activity to prevent overweight and obesity.

The provision of parks/playgrounds and open spaces in urban development should be a priority for new urban clusters. The compulsory physical education and sports periods in school/college curriculum can be combined with no entry to fast-food joints and cola rich snacks in the schools premises. The food industry can play a significant role in promoting healthy diets by reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods. The glamour of advertising by industry should be in the message of healthy foods and not in selling the unhealthy calorie-dense foods.

At the individual level, people can be educated by print and television media regarding limiting energy intake, avoiding saturated fats and fast foods, increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables. Engaging in regular physical activities, at work place or home, should be encouraged.

The ultimate goal is to have a healthy weight and a physically fit body and mind. It only requires acting at all the levels simultaneously and in unison. The concept of ‘deep practice’ postulated by Daniel Coyle if practiced in changing our food habits and physical activity levels at individual, community and national levels can surely make healthy citizens in India and globally too.

JK
Dr J.K.Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self healing powers of human organism.
You can follow him at https://twitter.com/drjkbhutani

  • Navjeet Sidhu

    The alarming proportions which obesity has acquired have been brought out well in this article!! The article needs to bbe widely shared read and acted upon for our sake as well as the sake of future generations!!!

Next Story

Parents With Single Child More Likely to Tackle an Obese Kid: Study

Researchers found mothers of singleton children were more likely to be obese themselves

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Researchers have found that only Child, who researchers refer to as 'singleton,' have less healthy family eating practices, beverage choices, and total Healthy Eating Index 2010 score, coming in lower on three out of the 12 areas measured. Pixabay

Parents with only Child are more likely to tackle an obese kid as children without siblings may be at a higher risk of gaining weight than those who have brothers and sisters, say researchers.

This is because families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child, the study added.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, found that this kind of obesity could be seven times more common among youngsters.

“Healthier eating behaviours and patterns may result from household-level changes rather than peer exposure, as peer exposure is also present in away-from-home care,” said study lead author Chelsea L. Kracht from the University of Oklahoma in the US.

According to the researchers, data was self-reported in daily food logs kept by mothers over the course of three days — two weekdays and one weekend day. Teachers kept logs by proxy for any food children ate while at school.

Mothers also completed the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity questionnaire to evaluate typical family eating behaviour like food and beverage choice.

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Parents with only Child are more likely to tackle an obese kid as children without siblings may be at a higher risk of gaining weight than those who have brothers and sisters, say researchers. Pixabay

Researchers have found that only-children, who researchers refer to as ‘singletons,’ had less healthy family eating practices, beverage choices, and total Healthy Eating Index 2010 score, coming in lower on three out of the 12 areas measured.

They also had significantly lower total scores across weekdays, weekends, and on average, indicating there are both individual and collective differences in eating patterns between the groups.

Researchers found mothers of singleton children were more likely to be obese themselves. Moreover, maternal BMI had a much stronger connection to child BMI percentile and waist circumference percentile than singleton status.

Maternal BMI did not significantly contribute to overall eating patterns but did contribute to empty calories.

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Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single Child, the study added. Pixabay

The research also found that time spent in away-from-home care like school and daycare was not connected to children’s eating patterns.

“Nutrition professionals must consider the influence of family and siblings to provide appropriate and tailored nutrition education for families of young children,” said Kracht.

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“Efforts to help all children and families establish healthy eating habits and practices must be encouraged,” Kracht added. (IANS)