Bengaluru: Childhood obesity is turning out to be a serious public health challenge and it is more rampant in urban areas. Over 10 million cases of childhood obesity are reported in India every year and it has been increasing at an alarming rate.
Obesity among children is attributed to unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, insufficient sleep and academic pressure.
During the nutrition week, themed as ‘Go further with food’, health experts said the fundamental cause of childhood obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.
Dr Archana S., nutritionist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR said, “Food provides nourishment for the body and what you choose to feed your child in their growing years has a major impact on their health for the rest of their lives. With easy access to fast foods and high dependency on technology, we are increasingly witnessing children leading sedentary lifestyles from an early age.”
According to a study, around 1.44 crore children are found to be obese in India. These children have a high risk of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problem.
Growing exposure to junk food, easy availability and the increased intake of it are moving children towards bad eating habits, resulting in childhood obesity, said Dr Parimala V. Thirumalesh, Senior Consultant Paediatrics and Neonatology, Aster CMI Hospital.
“It is important for a child’s growth that a balanced diet is maintained with an adequate amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat quotient in their diet apart from fruits and vegetables,” she explained.
Experts pointed out that this again is about the lifestyle that is being adapted these days and it is important that children not just read the theory about nutrition in their schools, but are also made to follow it through school activities and parental care.
“Once a child becomes overweight or obese, they're more likely to stay that way across the life course. Because of that, it's critical to shed off excess weight in children and teach them healthy life lessons,” said Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietician, Apollo Hospitals.
She also underlined that obese children should not be put on a weight reduction diet without consulting a doctor. “They should be counselled on planned outdoor physical activity every day and parents should avoid HFSS (high fat, sugar and salt) foods,” she added....