Obesity is emerging as a major societal concern. It is a health crisis of sorts, more so in children. As per reliable surveys, one third of the world population suffers from it and reportedly about 1 in 5 children and more than 1 in 3 adults struggle with it.
Public health experts have been calling for curbs on highly processed junk food to address obesity. It is a chronic disorder that involves excessive amounts of body fat which isn’t just a cosmetic concern but also involves health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, severe arthritis and even certain cancers.
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.
Development of obesity is multifactorial and eating of junk food and processed food is one of them, the government quoting experts informed the Parliament in the latest Budget session. 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.
As per 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.
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. Also, importantly too, the onus of inculcating healthy eating habits also starts at home. People should ensure steps to reduce the intake of unhealthy food.