Childhood Obesity Is A Serious Health Problem!
According to NDTV, the stats published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, around 5-8.8% of Indian schoolchildren were obese, in 2019. And if the rates increased at a pace like that, 27 million Indian children were expected to be obese by 2030.
But the pandemic will cause a much greater spurt in these figures, especially amongst the urban children from the middle class and upper-class families.
Being locked down at home, young children today are caught up in an unprecedented situation due to the pandemic.
I see many children looking distinctly chubbier on their parent’s DPs in recent days, children who were much slimmer till about six months ago! And I know many of these children personally because the parents are under my care for their own weight and health problems!
Neither the parents nor the schools have experienced anything quite like this before. The parents probably are not even aware of the likely challenges that most of them are going to face in a few more months’ time.
On one hand, the children can’t leave home and all their outdoor sports activities have come to a sudden halt, and on the other hand, their lifestyles have been turned upside down by having to study online and having to do both schoolwork and homework sitting in front of a phone or a laptop.
Being at home twenty-four hours and bored, the children are probably demanding more food, and the parents, also at home, are probably indulging the children more than they would have with the routine of school and sports activities keeping the children busy all day.
Childhood obesity is a serious health problem, don’t let your children get obese during this lockdown!
Preventing it is easier than reversing it, once it sets in!
The main drivers of childhood obesity are unhealthy dietary habits and reduced physical activity.
And, believe me, it is going to be very difficult to get the children to lose weight again, if they become obese now, if and when the life returns to normal post the pandemic. We don’t even know if that is going to happen in the near future or not!
The time is NOW, PREVENT IT NOW!
Many parents could be buying extra supplies of ready snacks like biscuits, chips, and other salted and fried snacks to keep the children fed in between meals. And the children probably eat more of regular food too, as the appetite goes haywire in absence of physical activity.
The sudden change to a sedentary lifestyle and excess and wrong food consumption is going to make the children obese and vulnerable to develop hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome.
All are serious health risks and will predispose the children to heart disease and strokes in later life.
The solution is to make the children exercise at home and eat healthier foods. Replace unhealthy snacks with fruits and make sure not to prepare fried and sweet dishes.
Watch and prevent a sudden increase in food portion sizes during the major meals. Reduce screen time as much as possible.
Involve children in household chores where they get more activity.
If possible, watch their weights regularly and make them conscious of the dangers of childhood obesity.