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EXCLUSIVE: Childhood Obesity Can Lead To Heart Attack In Kids- Expert Shares All About Fostering Healthy Habits

Obesity: When a kid weighs more than what is healthy for their age and height, they could have childhood obesity, a complex problem. Body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile on the unique growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the established medical definition of childhood obesity. A child’s BMI is different from an adult’s-  body compositions change as kids get older, and BMI is age- and sex-specific for them. 

India is expected to have over 27 million children with obesity by 2030, according to a new report released by the World Obesity Federation.

What Are the Causes of Childhood Obesity?

An imbalance between calories consumed and energy spent is the primary factor contributing to childhood obesity. Indians are genetically predisposed to being overweight. Yet, environmental factors account for a major portion of the sudden rise in childhood obesity. Economic growth causes people to switch from eating traditional cuisine to “modern” ones that are high in fat and sugar. Increased sedentary behaviour and a decrease in physical activity are a few effects of modernization.

Dr Naresh Chawla, DNB, MAMS (F.M.), Family Medicine Specialist at Dr Chawla’s Total Health Clinic and a Practo consultant shares about the most common yet alarming diseases that are often ignored in children with Zee English digital.

Health Implication of Childhood Obesity

There are negative health effects of childhood obesity. Children who are obese are more likely to have high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, respiratory issues, mental difficulties, and certain malignancies. The chance of developing adult lifestyle illnesses increases for two out of every three obese youngsters. The world’s diabetes capital is anticipated to be established in India.

Dr Chawla says, “Obesity in children is extremely alarming and can be a cause of childhood diabetes, heart problems, heart attacks (in children as low as 17-18 years), high cholesterol, gall bladder and even bone diseases. This trend of letting kids lead a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle needs to stop and parents must encourage their kids to move more, play more, reverse obesity, eat less junk food and have well-balanced meals often.”

“I also believe that there should be a coordinated effort across India between the government, ministry of sports, NGOs and most importantly school authorities to tackle childhood obesity and encourage them to do more physical activities,” comments Dr Chawla.

The majority of children today are engrossed in their smartphones or laptops, which will eventually result in a generation of sedentary employees who are obese, lethargic, and less productive, both as children and as adults. If this is resolved quickly, it will benefit not just the affected individual and their family but the entire nation.

Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Child obesity is one of the most significant public health issues of the twenty-first century, according to WHO. Although we are aware that treating obesity is quite tough, preventing childhood obesity is essential. The following are tested, easy ways to reduce obesity:

– Eat more fruits and vegetables.

– Cutting back on TV time and eating. While watching TV is a significant contributor to overeating,  TV advertisements incentivize kids to eat fast food.

– Limit your sugar consumption. As the new “tobacco,” sugar consumption needs to be controlled for all age groups. Drinks with added sugar are discouraged in favour of water.

– Promote physical exercise. Due to time constraints and academic demands, it is difficult to guarantee that kids have active lives. Little children should be encouraged to move about, while older kids should engage in the intense movement for 60 minutes each day.

The link between childhood obesity and adult-onset diabetes must be kept in mind, and it is crucial to detect the condition early since it is very challenging to reverse diabetes once it has taken hold in a person’s life. Hence, prevention must be the focus of all efforts.

“Good food habits and exercise need to be inculcated young and it can be done by counselling parents and children and teachers. If done properly it will help in the long term control of childhood obesity which is the most alarming concern for our country, ” concludes Dr Naresh Chawla.

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