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43 Lakh Children In Anganwadi Centres Identified As Obese Or Overweight: Data

A global study published by the World Obesity Federation recently showed that childhood obesity is a grave concern worldwide, and India is no exception. The study warned that if not addressed promptly, childhood obesity in India could see an annual rise of 9.1 per cent by 2035

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43 Lakh Children In Anganwadi Centres Identified As Obese Or Overweight: Data
Highlighting another major contributor to dietary imbalance, she said that micronutrients are disappearing from the diet of the poor as traditional kitchen gardens are replaced by cash crops in villages

New Delhi: More than 43 lakh children in the 0-5 age group were identified as obese or overweight last month, accounting for around six per cent of the total children surveyed at anganwadi centres across the country, according to official data. The data collected from the government-run rural child care centres also showed that the percentage of obese or overweight children was almost the same as that of severely and moderately malnourished children found in anganwadis — six per cent. Out of the 7,24,56,458 children “measured” in the 0-5 years age category, approximately six per cent or 43,47,387 children, were classified as obese or overweight, showed the data collated from growth monitoring app ‘Poshan Tracker’.

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Thirteen states and union territories, including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal, exhibit obesity rates surpassing the national average of six per cent, it showed.

Childhood obesity has exhibited a concerning upward trend in recent years.

There has been a notable increase in the percentage of children under five years of age who are overweight in NFHS-5 compared to NFHS-4, according to data from the NHFS-4 (2015-16) and the NFHS-5 (2019-21).

Before the ‘Poshan Tracker’, started in 2021, data was collected under the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).

Also Read: Obesity On Rise Among Rural Families In Telangana Due To More Carbohydrate Intake: Study

In the NFHS-5, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest percentages of overweight children under five years of age, followed closely by Sikkim and Tripura. In contrast, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh reported the lowest percentages of overweight children under five years of age.

Every state, except Tamil Nadu and Goa, has witnessed an increase in the percentage of overweight children under five years of age in the NFHS-5 when compared to the NFHS-4, according to data from the surveys.

A global study published by the World Obesity Federation recently showed that childhood obesity is a grave concern worldwide, and India is no exception. The study warned that if not addressed promptly, childhood obesity in India could see an annual rise of 9.1 per cent by 2035.

The study pointed out that the risk of obesity for boys in India may surge from three per cent in 2020 to 12 per cent within the next 12 years. For girls, the risk, which was at two per cent in 2020, may rise to seven per cent over the same period.

Also Read:Mother’s Consumption Of Ultra-Processed Foods Linked To Risk Of Obesity In Children: Study

It also estimated that around 11 per cent of the Indian population will be obese by 2035, with an annual increase in adult obesity projected to be around 5.2 per cent between 2020 and 2035.

The study suggested that continued failure to address and manage obesity could result in a global economic impact of USD 4.32 trillion by 2035, equivalent to nearly three per cent of the global GDP. The report indicated that the likely impact on India’s national GDP will be close to 1.8 per cent.

CEO of child rights organisation CRY Puja Marwaha has identified several key factors contributing to rising childhood obesity in India and these include shifting to unbalanced diets, increased consumption of highly processed and packaged foods and sedentary lifestyle that limits the burning of excess calories.

She also underscored the shift in children’s dietary patterns, especially in urban and semi-urban settings.

Also Read:The Obesity Challenge And How To Combat It With Diet

Ms Marwaha noted that the purchase of marketed snacks is increasingly influenced by children’s preferences, leading them to consume fast foods and sugary drinks, accumulating empty calories that their sedentary lifestyle do not allow them to burn off.

Highlighting another major contributor to dietary imbalance, she said that micronutrients are disappearing from the diet of the poor as traditional kitchen gardens are replaced by cash crops in villages.

She stressed that the cost of nutritious vegetables, fruits, and protein sources has become unaffordable for many low-income families.

When asked about how to tackle obesity, Ms Marwaha said like other behavioral issues among children, addressing childhood obesity must begin with proper parenting. Raising awareness among parents about what constitutes a balanced diet is crucial, she added.

Ms Marwaha pointed out that in urban areas, children often consume minimal fresh vegetables and fruits, and working parents may resort to offering junk food to ensure proper behaviour in their absence.

This trend is not limited to urban areas, as even in rural settings, where both parents work as daily wage earners, children are sometimes given inexpensive packets of potato chips for lunch, she said.

Dr Jyoti Kapoor, founder and director of Manasthali, said obese children face an elevated risk of developing various health problems, including Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These conditions can have both immediate and long-term consequences on a child’s quality of life and life expectancy.

Dr Kapoor noted that childhood obesity often persists into adulthood, further increasing the risk of chronic health conditions and early mortality.

Also Read:Health Of Our Environment Interlinked With The Health Of Humans, Especially Mothers: Dia Mirza

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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