Unhealthy eating habits lead to obesity among kids

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Did you know that more than 78 per cent kids, between 10-14 years eat out, at least, two-three times every week? And most of the time, this is junk food and aerated drinks. On the other hand, for kids between 5-9 years and adolescents between 15-18 years, the percentage is 60 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively. Going by these facts, part of an online survey, as reported in The Times of India conducted among parents of kids between 5-17 years found that unhealthy eating habits combined with lack of physical activity contributed majorly to a rise in the percentage of obese kids and teenagers in the National Capital of Delhi. The survey involved around 1,000 respondents from Delhi-NCR which threw light on the reality that though kids eat out a lot, they barely participate in physical activities and are unhealthy. And this fact is not limited to Delhi or India alone. It is a worldwide trend which is acquiring alarming proportions.

The online survey was commissioned by Max Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “Obesity in the growing years affects both physical and emotional well-being of children,” Dr Pradeep Chowbey, chairman of Max Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, adding, “It is linked to early onsets of lifestyle diseases, like hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases.”

Most parents in the survey blamed the influence of technology (59 per cent), overload of studies (41 per cent) and lack of sporting infrastructure (46 per cent) as the reasons behind kids not participating in physical activities and leading them to be unhealthy and lethargic. This is despite the fact that most leading educational institutions encourage students to participate in sports and daily exercises. A number of parents blamed safety in public places for the inactive lifestyle of children.

“Our survey shows parents are aware of the problem but they aren’t doing enough to prevent a crisis situation. Young parents should be conscious of the need to discourage children from eating out often. Also, there should be an environment at home to engage them in physical activity instead of becoming couch potatoes,” shared Chowbey.

Tips to help your kid maintain a healthy weight:

  • Encourage your child to make healthier food choices, such as healthy eating meals consisting of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, etc.
  • Give fresh vegetable and fruits instead of processed snack foods.
  • Make them eat a wide variety of nutritious foods.
  • Teach and encourage your child to drink water when thirsty instead of sweet drinks, including packaged fruit juices and soft drinks.
  • Encourage 60 minutes of physical activity a day – all children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health.
  • Limit sedentary activities like watching TV, playing video games, etc.
  • Make bedtime a priority, ensuring that your child gets adequate sleep every night.
  • Not just kids but involve the family in healthy eating and physical activity.

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