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Pandemic impact: Healthcare experts warn of rise of obesity cases among children

Confined to their properties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, children are going through the next danger of obesity because of elevated consumption of junk meals, lack of socialisation and bodily actions, healthcare experts have warned.

COVID-19 is predicted to probably worsen the issue of obesity in center and excessive socio financial teams, they mentioned.

The financial, meals, and well being methods disruptions ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare experts mentioned, are anticipated to proceed to exacerbate all varieties of malnutrition.

The newest National Family Health Survey, which was performed in 22 states in pre-pandemic occasions, offered a dire image of diet of children within the nation.

While on the one hand, it confirmed a rise in malnutrition in a number of states, the federal government survey additionally offered a rise of obesity among children in 20 of the 22 surveyed states.

A senior official mentioned tackling obesity goes to be a serious space of focus for the federal government below the newly launched Mission Poshan.

However, healthcare experts have mentioned that the attainable implications of COVID 19 in worsening the scenario of obese and obesity can’t be ignored.

“COVID 19 is predicted to probably worsen the scenario of obese in center and excessive socio-economic teams because the tendency for residence confined younger and faculty aged children and adolescents to bask in frequent munching or consumption of excessive calorie and empty nutrient worth snacks corresponding to ‘namkeen’, biscuits, bread, buns, noodles, ice lotions, cookies and muffins, fried snacks, sweetened drinks would enhance.

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“These items are rich in carbohydrate, sugar and fat and are sought routinely and consumed to get relief from boredom,” mentioned Dr. Sheila Vir, Director, Public Health Nutrition and Development Centre, Delhi.

She mentioned mother and father additionally encourage feeding such objects to fulfill the stress of fixed demand for meals fed to youthful children.

“Moreover, these children unable to play outdoors spend many more hours sitting in front of the computer or television,” she mentioned.

Dr Sujeet Ranjan, Executive Director, The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security mentioned children in India presently undergo from a double jeopardy of malnutrition; children are bothered with over-nutrition in addition to undergo from results of under-nutrition.

“During the lockdown and restricted movement, children had constrained access to socialisation, play, and even physical contact, critical for their psychosocial wellbeing and development. School closures were preventing children from access to learning and limiting their interactions with peers,” he mentioned.

Schools throughout the nation had been closed in March to comprise the unfold of COVID-19. They had been partially reopened in some states from October 15.

“Children felt confused and at loss with the current situation, leading to frustration and anxiety, which only increased with the overexposure to mass and social media,” he added.

Warning of ill-effects of obesity, he mentioned childhood obesity is related to the next likelihood of untimely demise and incapacity in maturity.

“Lack of dietary diversity is one of the reasons for rising obesity, overweight children and high undernutrition. The change is diets and consumption of high carbohydrate and high sugar foods have an impact on health of the children,” he mentioned.

“Regular and excessive consumption of foods high in salt, sugar and fat leads to obesity and is a risk factor many diseases. Sports for development (S4D) for physical fitness, balanced diet, reducing Television viewing are the four pillars through which obesity can be reduced among children,” Ranjan mentioned.

Dr Somasekar Ramaswamy, Professor of paediatrics on the Madras Medical College, mentioned not simply children however obesity may even impression adults.

“When it comes to children, one of the major cause could be online classes, while on the other hand it could be, work from home for adults. In both the cases, they have to sit for hours with excessive consumption of junk food and almost no physical activity resulting in an imbalance between intake and expenditure of calories, leading to accumulation of more weight, weeks-after-weeks,” he mentioned.

For prevention of obese in younger children 6-23 months, Vir mentioned care givers ought to be certain that sensible choice of meals objects and correct feeding practices are adopted.

“Overfeeding a child, if undernourished earlier, should be strictly avoided. TV time should be restricted and play time encouraged. Regular weight monitoring, as far as feasible, should be encouraged. In fact, the entire family should ‘Eat Right’ since overweight problem in mothers is also associated with overweight and obesity in their offspring. Also get into the habit of checking the nutrient content which is printed on the food packets, as per the government/FSSAI policy,” she mentioned.

Interventions on the faculty and group stage that promote consciousness and schooling about wholesome consuming habits, life-style patterns and common train are important to stop obesity in children.

Stringent commercial tips and media intervention that forestall false propaganda of unhealthy meals by celebrities that children adore is one other step on this regard, Vir mentioned.

“Thus, interventions at a biopsychosocial level using a multi-disciplinary team approach forms the cornerstone in the effective management of childhood obesity,” Vir added.

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