Tag Archives: obesity in children

Is it possible to eat healthy food at nearby fast food joint?

fast food

With changing culture and family dynamics in India, there is more and more nuclear family with both parents working. Life has become busy; so many parents opt to eat out at a food joint rather than preparing a healthy meal at home. And with media exposure and cultural change, children are also demanding. Due to this more and more children are overweight and are at increased risk of obesity and other major diseases.

Eating fast food once in a while is fine, but it should not become a regular feature of your child’s staple diet. Twice a month, eating out will be just fine, not more than that.

Being a parent, it is our responsibility to provide child with healthier options and lead with example. We can encourage them to go for healthier options.

healthy food for kids

Few things to keep in mind while eating out that can help you and your kids are:

  • Control the portion size: This is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Do not get carried away by temptation from food joints who offer to upgrade to larger size or combos to save money. The price difference between a medium drink and large is kept very small so that you are tempted to buy a bigger one.
  • Encourage them to eat roasted, steamed or boiled food rather than fried. It helps to decrease the number of calories and is much healthier option.
  • Order some salad or fruits along as a side dish. It will make you fuller at very low calories and with healthier options.
  • Order some non aerated drinks (without soda) like water, juice or milk. Avoid aerated drinks with soda like cold drinks; they are just empty calories. But to go for healthier options like fruit juices or smoothies.
  • Do not get lured by word “Diet”: Diet food or diet cold drinks or diet chips are not a healthy option. Diet cold drinks have artificial sweetener and other stuff inside which can even be more dangerous (most of such drinks have labels stating that not meant for less than 18 years). Diet chips still have lot of salt (high sodium content) and masala that is not good for your heart and cholesterol.
  • Similarly “Fat free” does not mean a healthy option and you can eat large amount. They still have carbohydrates and lots of calories which can make you obese.

 

Remember you can buy a new house to stay but you have only one body to live.

If your body is not in good shape, all your materialistic wealth will be of no use.

Respect your body: Eat healthy, do exercise and be mentally strong.  And have faith in your abilities, you can do lot better than you think you can.

 

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma

Overweight and childhood Obesity

food         Obesity-Cycle  

Childhood Obesity is a major health problem these days. Initially it was supposed to be disease of western countries and affluent class, but data clearly shows that it is very rampant in middle class families. Main reason as we all know are changing lifestyle with lots of junk food and minimal physical activity. It is important to be in touch with your pediatrician.

Definition: Simplistically, Obesity results from an imbalance of caloric intake and energy expenditure.

BMI (Body Mass index): BMI charts are available which can be used in children > 2years old,

BMI= Weight (in kg)/ Height (in meter)2

Obesity:  BMI more than or equal to 95th percentile

Overweight:  BMI between 85th and 95th percentile

Factors leading to obesity:

child-obesity

  • Enviornmental factors:
    • calorie dense food
    • consumption of processed foods
    • limited physical activity
    • sedentary interests: computers, TV, video games

 

  • Genetics factors also play important role in some cases

Co-Morbidities associated with childhood obesity:

  • Cardiovascular: Dyslipidemia, Hypertension
  • Endocrine: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary Syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal: Gall bladder disease, Non Alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Psychosocial effects and stigma
  • Orthopedic complications:  joint pain etc.
  • Respiratory: Sleep Apnea
  • Neurologic:  Pseudotumor cerebri

 

Interventions:

Successful intervention for obesity is challenging and is best accomplished using multimodal approaches to accomplish lifestyle change. In children we do not want rapid weight loss as child is in growing phase and adequate nutritious diet is needed. So it is best to try to retain the same weight or very slow weight loss.

  • Catch them young – school age children must be targeted
  • Do not skip meals especially Breakfast
  • Increase awareness: media; school teachers; governmental and NGO effort
  • Minimise advertising pressure for  “junk foods”
  • School play grounds; “Games periods”
  • Health food in school canteens

Traffic light Diet Plan:

Features Green light food Yellow light food Red light food
Quality Low -calorie, high –fiber, low-fat, nutrient-dense Nutrient-dense, but higher in calories and fat High in calories, sugar and fat
Types of food Fruits, vegetables Lean meats, dairy, starches, grains Latty meats, sugar, fried foods
Quantity Unlimited Limited Infrequent or avoided

  

Conclusion:

  • India is in the midst of an escalating epidemic of life style disorders associated with childhood

obesity.

• The important causes of the epidemic in India appear to be:  unhealthy eating pattern, reduced

physical activity, increased sedentary pursuits .

• Prevention must begin early in the form of a public health campaign directed towards lifestyle

changes of the family / society as a whole. The campaign requires strong social and political will.

• Health professionals must think `prevention of obesity’ at all visits, monitor BMI and ensure that

‘nutrition messages’ are not conflicting and confusing.

• Special strategies for different ages and channels of interventions for prevention of obesity have

been outlined.

• Clinic based individual assessment of the obese child and principles of therapy are provided.

 

For any queries consult your child doctor or feel free to contact Maya Clinic. we will be more than happy to answer all of them.

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma

“Healthy Kids, Happy Family”