Childhood obesity is increasing in India


Giuliofornasar | Dreamstime.com

Giuliofornasar | Dreamstime.com

Here’s another sign that there are at least two India’s. Even while 40% of the population is undernourished, in some quarters childhood obesity is on the rise. The National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation has estimated that 33.9% of teenagers in Mumbai’s private schools and 8.4% of kids in public schools are obese. This extra weight, if not shed by the time they become teenagers, could contribute to several health risks as they grow into adults.

Overweight children are more likely to suffer from blood vessel damage and insulin resistance. They are more susceptibility to joint problems, social and psychological issues and low self-esteem. Obese children are also more prone to becoming overweight adults and up their risks of developing heart disease, cancers and diabetes.

In order to steer your child away from this slippery slope, it’s important you encourage and partake in healthy habits. First, have an honest look at your child to determine whether they may have a problem. Often, parents do not realize when their offspring is overweight. If he or she gets out of breath climbing a flight of stairs or running a small length and has a significant amount of fat around their waist, it is time to get proactive.

Don’t start by berating your child. They should not be encouraged to lose weight for superficial reasons but because they will feel better and be healthier without the excess kilos. Rather than pointing out fault with your child’s diet and activity level, encourage them to participate in changing their lifestyle as a family. Limit eating outside, cut down on processed food and educate your child on how to make healthy choices based on a food item’s nutritional content.

A good way to limit food intake is to provide your child with healthy, regular food and limit treats. This way, your kid is likely to only eat till he is satisfied rather than gorge on delicious fatty treats. Also, keep healthy snacks such as cut vegetables ready to satisfy hunger pangs between meals, and avoid letting your children watch TV while eating as it promotes mindless consumption.

Getting enough exercise also plays a key role in fighting obesity. Exercise not only burns calories but also relieves stress, which is a contributing factor to obesity. Even if your child has a healthy diet, he needs enough exercise daily to help expend that energy or he will pile on the pounds.

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