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Mumbai Kids Prone To Excess Weight And Obesity

Mumbai kids prone to excess weight and obesity

Obese children are likelier to develop health problems as adults. (Thinkstock)

India is already the third most obese country in the world and recent trends show that in another eight years it will go higher up in the rank. City doctors give us a low-down on how to battle weight issues among adolescents.

Weight gain and obesity in children and adolescents is more than just a serious issue because of the consequences it has. Invariably, obesity leads to health deterioration, psychological problems and social isolation. The important thing to consider here is that mostly these children are not responsible for their food selection.

Doctors in Mumbai feel that the only way to control the menace of childhood obesity is for the parents to rise up to occasion and be a role model for youngsters. It is time to inculcate habits of eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Children can't be expected to give up on unhealthy food if that is what is served to them daily.

Alarming statistics

India is the third most obese country in the world. It is showing increasing incidence of over-weight children and adolescents especially in urban areas and several studies highlight this trend.

According to available statistics, Mumbai has seen a marked increase in the prevalence of over-weight adolescent children in the last few years.

More than 15 million children are estimated to be overweight in urban India. Figures published by the World Obesity Federation last year indicate that if the current trends continue, in another eight years, 268 million school-aged children (age five years to 17.9 years) worldwide, will suffer excess body weight.

Senior metabolic and bariatric surgeon Dr Ramen Goel says, "According to a study published in an international journal on paediatric obesity, by 2025, India will have over 17 million obese children and stand second among 184 countries."

Obesity can lead to lifestyle diseases

Senior interventional cardiologist Dr Nilesh Gautam says, "The extra kilos put kids at risk for developing serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Excess weight also leads to lethargy, slow movement avoidance of sports, physical activity and thus leading to low self-esteem, negative body image, and even depression."

Senior metabolic and bariatric surgeon Dr Ramen Goel adds, "It has been seen that many young obese develop blood pressure and even heart attacks at a young age."

Eating smart is the right mantra

Nutritionists say that one should identify healthy snacks and stock up on them up. Clinical nutritionist Dr Nupur Krishnan says that choosing puffed chips instead of fried ones, wheat or soya biscuits instead of the maida ones, or nuts and dry fruits instead of cream biscuits would be great. Experts feel that fresh seasonal fruits, freshly prepared juice along with the pulp, should always be chosen over aerated drinks. Popcorn that is unbuttered or non-caramelised, can work as a snack for kids.

Parents should help develop the child's taste for steamed, grilled food instead of fried stuff. Being vigilant about the food that they is essential, advice nutritionists. Clinical nutritionist Pooja Makhija says, "Maintaining portion sizes and sticking to a particular time for meals and the in-between snacks always help." Experts say that having five to six mini meals help to keep up the metabolism.

Senior paediatrician Dr Jayesh Sheth says, "Teaching your child to eat slowly and to chew in-between mouthfuls is important. Never feed your kid when the television is on, or if she /she is busy playing on a digital device." Avoid serving unhealthy snacks, readymade or instant foods. Encourage your child to drink a lot of water and have wholesome home cooked meals.

Experts say that making healthier food choices like fresh fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, whole grain cereal high in fiber and low in sugar, and low-fat milk instead of sugary cereals, donuts, or toaster pastries can help prevent obesity.

Consequences of obesity in childhood

Obese children are more likely to develop a variety of health problems as adults. These include cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance (often an early sign of impending diabetes), musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis — a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints), some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon) and disability.

Keep in mind

  • Oil, butter, ghee and cheese intake should be restricted. A 10 or even 50 per cent reduction generally does not help since the intake is many times more than required.
  • White flour made products must be completely stopped to avoid blood sugar spikes and diabetes in future.
  • Sweets, chocolate intake should be restricted too for similar reasons. These products not only result in weight gain but lead to hormonal imbalance and hardening of blood vessels.


Your BMI is a tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on your height. The BMI 'number' informs you if you are underweight, of normal weight, overweight, or obese. However, due to the wide variety of body types, it is not appropriate to use this as the final indication for diagnosis.

Did you know?

Sugar is hidden in foods as diverse as bread, canned soups, pasta sauce, frozen dinners, fast food and ketchup.

Kids need exercise

Exercising regularly is of utmost importance. Participating in sports like badminton, tennis, basketball and swimming can help. Children who sit too much and move too little, are at the highest risk for becoming overweight. Kids need an hour of exercise daily for optimum health.

What parents need to do...

  • Serve a heavy breakfast to your child every day.
  • Focus on healthy choices like reducing the amount of candy and desserts you and your child eat.
  • In India, our intake of sweets and sweetened drinks (sherbets, lemon water [nimbu-pani], etc.) is naturally very high. The body gets all it needs from sugar naturally occurring in food-so anything added amounts to nothing but a lot of empty calories so avoid it.
  • Reducing screen time is essential. The less time your children spend watching TV, playing video games, or using computers or mobile devices, the more time they'll spend on active pastimes. Remember how important it is for you to be a positive role model-so you may have to cut down on your own viewing habits, too.

Story Credit: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/mumbai-kids-prone-to-excess-weight-and-obesity/articleshow/59545181.cms