Big on junk food, poor kids get fat
By Daniel Thimmayya | Published: 15th November 2012 08:45 AM |
It’s not just children in the city’s expensive, private schools that are addicted to junk food and aerated drinks, thus piling on the kilos; even their counterparts in the humble Corporation schools have fallen prey to it. As a result, 14.9 per cent of higher secondary (+1, +2) students of Corporation schools across the city have been found to be either overweight or obese.
The figures were part of the results of an intense three-month-long screening programme conducted by a team of 30 doctors from the Madras Medical College (MMC), covering 5,097 Corporation school students.
“This is very strange to see,” said Dr V Kanagasabai, Dean of MMC. “Normally obesity and hypertension are negligible among students from economically backward sections of society, but we found it was scarcely the case here.”
While 250 students were found to be obese (Body Mass Index over 30), as many as 510 students were overweight (BMI 25-29.9).
The results of the study further indicated that this was because of a spike in consumption of aerated drinks and an avoidance of fruits and vegetables.
Easy access to cheaper junk food is believed to be the primary cause for this ‘epidemic’.
“Plenty of smaller bakeries and petty shops have begun selling economy burgers and pizzas that cost between `10 and `20. With even poor children having more money now and a desire to try these western treats, I am not surprised that they have also begun to accumulate fat,” opined Dr J S Rajkumar, a veteran bariatric surgeon.