Obesity is not just an individual problem but a major societal concern. Public health experts have been calling for curbs on highly processed junk food to address obesity.
Consuming anything in excessive quantities is always harmful to health. Junk food is high in calories and contains unhealthy fats that can lead to obesity and high sugar levels.
As per some experts, there are various microbial species in the stomach that help the body cells to battle against obesity, diabetes, provocative gut conditions, coronary illness, and so on. Junk foods are said to impact them badly.
Obesity is multi-factorial and eating of junk food and processed food is one of them, the government quoting experts informed the Parliament recently. Childhood obesity is a risk factor of developing heart diseases and diabetes in later life, the government said, also quoting a recent systematic review of studies on childhood obesity from India. The study, the government said, showed that the pooled data after 2010 estimated a combined prevalence of 19.3% of childhood overweight and obesity which was a significant increase from the earlier prevalence of 16.3% reported in 2001-2005.
According to Indian Council of Medical Research’s India State Level Disease Burden Initiative study paper published in “Lancet Global Health”, there has been an increase in the number of people suffering with diabetes from 26.0 million in 1990 to 65.0 million in 2016 in India with an increase in the crude prevalence by 39·4% in adults aged 20 years or older with an increase in every state from 1990 to 2016, contributing about 3·1% of the total deaths, the parliament was informed.
The most important risk factor for diabetes was overweight, with about 36·0% of the diabetes disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) could be attributed to. For every 100 overweight adults aged 20 years or older, there were 38 adults with diabetes, compared with the global average of 19 adults in 2016. The other risk factors for diabetes are low physical activity and increase in unhealthy diet (dietary risk).
ICMR- NIN (National Institute of Nutrition) has also recommended a new syllabus to be included in Textbooks of School children in NCERT Board on Healthy Food habits and Nutrition as a Part of Nutrition Education and Communication strategy for Healthy foods. These are welcome steps and need to be implemented in letter and spirit. Importantly also, the onus of inculcating healthy eating habits also starts at home.