Obesity, which is a serious public health concern, has become a major cause for increase in juvenile diabetes and even heart diseases among children, said experts ahead of the World Diabetes Day which will be observed on Monday.
Children diagnosed with diabetes are also at higher risk of contracting chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone or joint problems and sleep apnea, well-known bariatric surgeon from Bengaluru M G Bhat said.
In addition to biological or genetic factor, children are becoming overweight due to modern life-style, excess calorie intake in the form of fast food, sugary drinks and lack of physical activity, Dr Bhat told PTI.
Figures published by the World Obesity Federation in Paediatric Obesity for World Obesity Day 2016, indicate that if current trends continue, by 2025, 268 million school-aged children (age 5 years to 17.9 years) worldwide will suffer excess bodyweight including 91 million who will have obesity.
Bhat said “childhood obesity is a serious problem. The increasing incidence of this disease poses a dilemma for treatment and care. Being overweight has enormous impact not only on the physical health of a child, but also on mental and emotional health as well.
“Such children are often targets of bias and stigma among their peers and develop low self-esteem as well as a tendency to withdraw from others,” says Bhat.
A lot of studies and surveys are being undertaken to understand the prevalence of obesity among children in various countries, says Mumbai-based Endocrinologist Dr Altamash Shaikh.
A recent study states that there are six crore obese children in India and another 12 crore are over-weight.
By 2025, India will have over 17 million obese children and stand second among 184 countries where the number of obese children are concerned, Shaikh said quoting another study.
Bhat, however, feels that obesity among children should first be tackled at home. Childhood obesity occurs when a child or adolescent is above the average weight for his or her age and height.
Lifestyle modifications and healthy eating habits help in tackling weight gain issues in children. Parents should encourage healthy eating habits among children by putting an end to calorie-rich temptations, he said.