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Healthy India

Shaping A Healthy Future: How Parents Can Help Their Children Beat Obesity

Parents, let’s unite to tackle childhood obesity head-on with love, support, and positivity! Here’s a quick guide to nurturing healthy habits

Shaping A Healthy Future: How Parents Can Help Their Children Beat Obesity

New Delhi: TV remote in one hand and a plate full of snacks in another – that is what Shanaya Arora does every day after school. Shanaya is 11 years old.

He doesn’t believe in playing in parks or fields, under the open sky. His idea of games is strictly confined to video games.

Later in the evening, it’s more snacks. Chips, pizza, fizzy drinks.

Watch: Dos and Don’ts For Preventing Childhood Obesity

‘From wearing a small size t-shirt to now wearing a XXL size, I have seen my son growing bigger with each passing day,’ says his mother, Shweta.

Shanaya is not alone in this. He has company in not hundreds, not even thousands but millions of children. About 12.5 million are obese, according to the medical journal, The Lancet.

Also Read: 12.5 Million Children, Teens In India Obese In 2022: Lancet Study

The Reasons

“Sedentary lifestyle and junk food are the biggest reasons,” says Rira Trivedi, Therapist and Wellness Coach for Positive Parenting.

The other big contributors to childhood obesity are lack of sleep, excessive OTT viewing, and anxiety due to a hostile environment, says, Ms Trivedi.

UNICEF’s World Obesity Atlas for 2022 states that India is predicted to have more than 27 million obese children by 2030. The report quotes Dr Arjan De Wagt, Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF, India, “People are under-nutritioned and over-nutritioned at the same time in India. We are not giving children balanced meals. We are rallying more on carbs and convenience food.”

The Solution

More children are at high risk of various health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension due to obesity. As a parent, it is crucial to act now to stop this growing epidemic before it’s too late.

Also Read: What Causes Obesity, How Can It Be Prevented? Nutritionist Tapasya Mundhra Explains

Ms Trivedi suggests,

1. Do not body shame your child
2. Don’t make obesity of your child a topic of discussion in every family gathering
3. Don’t obsess about losing weight
4. Talk about emotions and your child’s mental wellbeing so that your child doesn’t have to resort to food as a coping mechanism

Sanchita Daswani, Nutrition Consultant for Children, says,

Kids don’t need anything fancy. Simple homemade balanced meals are ideal – add carbs like rice, roti, millets along with a lot of veggies, dal/paneer/chicken for protein. Remember to add fruits and yoghurt on the side.

Besides food habits, parents should encourage their child to build an effective physical routine. This would help manage carbs and sugar, which get stored as bad fat in the body.

Go for cycling, long walks or include an outdoor sport in children’s routines. Just ensure they are moving enough!

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. 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 a world post 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 well-being, 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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