Saturday, July 03, 2004

Obesity: Yeh dil maange more

Welcome to India; did you know that 1 in 5 children in our well- to-do schools are overweight?
We are soon going to top the world in diabetes & heart diseases. This is good news for a lot of people.... the drug companies, fast food makers, hotels & restaurants, but disconcerting news for us parents & peditricians.
So how do we prevent Obesity in our kids?
1. Lifestyle changes: No to DIETING; yes to NUTRITION; meaning more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits & whole grain cereals, avoid pre-packaged snacks, ice-creams & chocolates. Decrease eating out and fatty foods.
Think of a day's consumption like an Indian 'Thali' (plate of food) wherein a quarter is carbohydrate cereal (like rice & chappati), another quarter is protein like Milk, egg, dal, meat etc., while the other 50% should be salads, fruits & vegetables. Fried snacks & sweets should be reserved for a few special occasions.
2. Increase physical activity: Involve hildren by asking them to walk or cycle to school, engage in extracurricular play etc. If they do not like team sports, individual sports like dancing & martial arts can be encouraged.
3. Decrease sedentary behaviour: Most importantly TV viewing should be restricted to 1 hour on school days; 2 hours on the weekends. Computers & tuitions should be discouraged during evening play hours.
These are just the tip of the measures needed to conrol obesity. We as pediatricians & parents have a great role to play in keeping our children healthy.
Encourage your doctor to record children's weight & height on a chart during each visit & let you know if your kids are at risk for obesity.
Remember 'chubby' is not cute; & 'overweight' is not healthy!
For more baby problems log on to Charak clinics

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