Schools reopened after the winter break of about three months. At the same time, getting children to eat a decent school lunch remains a challenge. In the middle of this, there is increased junk food urge among the students. Junk food accessibility has enormously expanded the rates of Childhood obesity.
Today, childhood obesity is a serious, widespread problem that has implications for society in general and parents in particular.
The reason for the increase is not hard to figure out. More empty calories and not enough physical activity to burn them off are main reasons.
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 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 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, contributing about 3·1% of the total deaths.
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.
Not Long ago, ICMR- NIN (National Institute of Nutrition) along with FSSAI had recommended guidelines for High Fat High Salt, Sugars (HFSS) Food Labels on all Ready to eat foods. ICMR-NIN has also recommended a new syllabus to be included in Text books 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. Parents must play a role and ensure healthy food and means to burn off calories.