Adult obesity: unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity lead to drastic increase in obesity in adults and children

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NEW DELHI: The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) found a drastic increase in obesity in children under five in 20 of the 22 states where the study was conducted, experts attributing to lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet. habits.

According to the NHFS-5, several states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mizoram, Tripura, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, have recorded several times an increase in the percentage of obesity in children under five compared to NFHS-4 conducted between 2015 and 2016.

Only Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu saw a drop in the number of overweight children under five, according to the data.

About 13.4% of children under five were obese in Ladakh, which was highest among the 22 states and Union territories surveyed, followed by Lakshadweep at 10.5%, Mizoram at 10%, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim 9.6 percent. one hundred each.

Not just in children, an increase in obesity was even recorded in adults in the latest survey compared to NFHS-4.

According to survey data, 16 states and union territories saw an increase in obesity among women while 19 states and UTs saw an increase in obesity among men.

Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands recorded the highest percentage of obesity among women at 38%. In addition, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep recorded the highest percentage of obesity among women at over 40 percent.

Both men and women were counted as obese with a body mass index greater than or equal to 25.0 kg / m2, while childhood obesity was counted in terms of weight for height.

Health experts have attributed the increase in obesity to unhealthy food choices and lack of physical activity in children and even adults.

Sheila Vir, public health nutrition expert and founding director of the Center for Nutrition and Public Health Development, said there was also a lack of awareness on what good eating habits are.

In addition, foods high in fat and sugar are readily available, and hence their consumption is higher, she said.

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Only Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu recorded a decrease in the number of overweight children under five.

“We have a double burden of undernutrition and malnutrition and over-nutrition happening together. So I think what to feed a child is what we mess up with,” Vir said.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, she also raised concerns about the increase in obesity.

“There could be an increase in childhood obesity due to the COVID-19 pandemic because after schools closed there was a lack of physical activity among children and even adults in some cases “she said.

Dr Khan Amir Maroof, professor in the Department of Community Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, called the rise in obesity “a very worrying sign”.

“Obesity is a manifestation of what is rapidly changing in our environment. Lately we are seeing trends that increase the risk of developing obesity. Environmental factors, such as the availability and consumption of junk food, poor complementary nutrition , the lack of outdoor activities and the increase in screen time may be the reason for this trend, ”he said.

“For children, we have to report screen time because it has multidimensional effects on children, obesity, being part of it. The focus has been on breastfeeding, but now is the time that the ‘Complementary feeding is also concentrating,’ suggested Dr Maroof. .

On the impact of obesity in children, he said that noncommunicable diseases can develop in obese children earlier than others.

“They are more likely to be harassed in schools, neglected or humiliated by their peers, which results in mental health issues among them,” he said.

Among adults, he said the increased consumption of ready-to-eat foods, the increase in screen time with 24-hour access to web content, and the lack of outdoor spaces seem to be plaguing obese adults.

He suggested that children, with more emphasis on complementary feeding practices in the community, and reducing screen time, can be the immediate actions.

“Counseling for nursing mothers of children around 4 months old should focus on counseling on complementary feeding. We find that all mothers know “what” to give the child but “how much”, “when” and “what consistency” to explain regarding complementary feeding. Intervention strategies to reduce screen time are needed, ”he said.

The NFHS results of 17 states and five Union Territories were published as part of the first phase. Results from phase two covering other states will be released next year, the health ministry said.

This NFHS was conducted on a sample of 6.1 lakh households, involving household level interviews to collect information on population, health, family planning and nutrition related indicators.

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NEW DELHI: A report on ‘Indian business fitness levels’ released on Tuesday by health and fitness app HealthifyMe found that 63% of executives are overweight with a higher body mass index (BMI) to 23.

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