Written by Dr. Sanjay Borude
According to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, India has the second highest number of obese children in the world with 14.4 million cases. The country is the second most populous country in the world, with 27.05 percent of its population in the 0-14 age group. The obesity rank matches India’s global position in terms of population, but the number is worrying nonetheless.
it is generally believed that Obesity arises from eating junk food, unhealthy food, fried in saturated fat etc. – Unlimited list. But social and cultural factors are equally responsible and often unaccounted for. Children are glued to screens with little physical activity due to the lack of playgrounds in urban areas. His day is filled with extra-curricular activities and tutoring, leaving no time or energy to play. Physical activity becomes minimal or disappears from the daily schedule unless obesity or its symptoms arise. Exercise is often considered or done as a way to combat obesity. Many people forget that physical activity is important for healthy physical, mental and overall well-being, regardless of whether the person is overweight or otherwise. It cannot be reiterated enough that obese children are at higher risk of suffering from chronic diseases later in life.
When a family seeks help for their obese child, doctors usually start with a conservative plan that focuses on diet. Along with counselling, the family is advised of the diet plan and daily caloric intake. For some children, doctors may recommend behavior changes with the guidance of a doctor, a nutritionist, and an exercise program with the expertise of a mental health professional.
Studies show that lifestyle modification, with parental support, works best for most children. Obesity in children is not easy. It is not simply a result of overeating and not engaging in physical activity. Several factors are at work here: the baby’s genes, the hormonal cycles that control metabolism, the sleep cycle, the family’s socio-economic status and lifestyle choices.
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Years ago, I did a survey on the weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) of children attending a school located in a lower middle class area of Mumbai. They lived in simple settlements; He didn’t pursue too many extra classes or own gizmos that would keep him glued to the couch. This meant that most children would be of reasonable weight. My happiness was short-lived because during a later interview, students admitted that they had a high affinity for junk foods like pastries and pizza. The healthy-looking bunch was clearly unhealthy and at a high risk of future weight gain.
dispel the myths
Myth 1: Childhood obesity is genetic
Fact: While genes do affect weight, they are only a small part of the equation. Most children can maintain a healthy weight if they eat right and exercise.
Myth 2: Children who are obese or overweight should be put on a diet.
Fact: Unless directed by your child’s doctor, the treatment for childhood obesity is not weight loss. The goal should be to slow or stop the weight gain, allowing your baby to grow to his ideal weight.
Myth 3: It’s just baby fat. Children will gain weight.
Fact: Childhood obesity does not always lead to obesity in adulthood, but it increases the risk dramatically.
healthy food choices
Start by taking small, gradual steps toward healthy eating. If the family is used to sweets after a meal, one can swap fruit-based cakes or pudding in place of ice cream or deep-fried desserts. Parents can then move toward reducing the amount of sweets or portions of food to balance the calories consumed. Similarly, if children snack in front of the television, parents can offer fruits or snacks such as “kurmura” (puffed rice), seeds, etc. Add a salad to dinner every night or swap the french fries for baked potatoes and potatoes with steamed cooked vegetables for later.
a visual treat
There is always a way for kids to make interesting patterns. The diet can be designed to include red (beets, tomatoes), orange (carrots, squash), yellow (potatoes, bananas), green (lettuce, broccoli) etc. – just like eating a rainbow. The fruit can be frozen and served as popsicles; Vegetables can be cut into strips and served similar to pasta, and so on. You can also explore recipes with your baby and figure out the flavors that they like and prepare meals accordingly. Fussy people may be tempted to eat a variety of foods, such as a bowl of ice cream garnished with fruit or pasta, funky with colorful vegetables like broccoli, purple cabbage, tomatoes, and more. Coloring with little kids.
For older children, parents must engage with the aspirations that inspire them. For one, it may be excelling at sports, another may wish for increased concentration, better skin and hair or even “beauty” food that they can photograph and share on social media. . You can include foods that suit their desires, communicate the role of food and nutrition, and start a joint effort to eat rainbows.
Breakfast can be the meal that the family eats together.
Look for hidden sugar in foods such as breads, canned soups, pasta sauces, pickles, frozen foods, low-fat foods, fast foods and ketchup. The major culprits are health drinks and milk supplements, which are endorsed by major athletes and celebrities. They mislead people into believing that milk alone does not contain enough nutrients and must be reinforced with powder for added nutrition. A major ingredient in these supplements is sugar. A popular cornflakes brand implies that its packaged grub contains more nutrition than almonds. Similarly, many health drinks that claim to contain vitamin C also contain sugar.
The body gets the required amount of sugar from natural foods like fruits, milk and even some vegetables like potatoes and grains like rice. Instead of buying milk drinks or dietary supplements that are added to milk, try making healthier alternatives at home. Use cocoa powder and dates to recreate the allure of chocolate milk. Traditional masala milk with cardamom, saffron and dry fruits is also full of nutrition.
Limit juice, soda and coffee drinks. Soft drinks are full of sugar. Most juices provide little nutrition because the fiber is often discarded along with the peel and pulp. Give your child sparkling water with a splash of lemon, fresh mint or fruit juice with the pulp instead.
Don’t ban sweets. A “no sweets” rule invites craving and overindulgence when the opportunity comes. Instead, limit the cookies, candies and baked goods that your child eats and offer fruit-based snacks and desserts.
Schedule regular meal times. If your kids know they’ll only get food at certain times, they’ll be more likely to eat when they get it. Limit eating out. If you must eat out, try to avoid fast food.
Do not consume low-calorie sweeteners. According to a report from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “low-calorie sweeteners (LCS)” have a higher sweetness intensity per gram than non-calorie sweeteners. These include artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, as well as steviol glycosides and plant extracts such as monk fruit.
don’t go fat; Well get fat. Not all fats contribute to weight gain. Instead of trying to cut fat out of your child’s diet, focus on replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats. Avoid trans fats which are dangerous for your baby’s health. Try to eliminate or cut back on commercially baked goods, packaged snacks, fried foods and anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil in ingredients, even if it claims to be trans fat-free.
It is impossible to avoid the lure of packaged cakes and chips sold in the market. It would be a better idea to make these gifts at home. Unsaturated or “good” fats include nuts and seeds such as peanuts, almonds and cashews. Eggs, avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, soy, tofu, flaxseed, etc. also contain healthy fats. But they are also high in calories, so their intake should be limited. Cooking of fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, mustard oil and unrefined oils is essential to maintain health.
Choose saturated fat wisely. The USDA recommends limiting saturated fat to 10 percent of your child’s daily calories. Pay attention to the source of saturated fat consumed: a glass of whole milk or natural cheese instead of a hot dog, donut or pastry; Grilled chicken or fish instead of fried chicken etc. Some advertisements portray butter, ghee and conventional oils as “harmful” and promote factory-made margarines and substitutes in their place.
Some brands package ready-to-eat foods as “trans fat-free.” While the claim is true, check their caloric value versus nutritional value. Be smart about snacks and sweet foods. Your home is where your child eats the most meals and snacks, so it’s important that you have healthy but interesting options in your kitchen; Munchies based on Khakhra, Bajra etc. Keep snacks small.
See portion sizes. To keep calories under control, use the hand as the unit of measurement. For women, the size of their palm indicates the amount of lean protein they should consume; A handful the size of a vegetable or salad, a cup in hand with a portion of carbs like rice or starchy vegetables like potatoes. In the end, the fat should only be a thumb-sized amount. Instead of keeping the serving dish on the table, serve the food in separate plates. Divide food from larger packages into smaller containers. The bigger the package, the more people eat it without realizing it.
(Excerpted from Generation XL, published by Penguin)