CHENNAI: Childhood obesity has more than doubled in over the past 30 years, suggests recent studies. If not treated, childhood obesity can lead to heart attack, diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea and even asthma. Out of 100 children who visit the nutrition department of the Institute of Child Health, five are obese, says Dr S Srinivasan, who runs the nutrition department at the institute in Egmore.
Parents lack awareness about childhood obesity as they do in the case of malnutrition. “There are different types of obesity like hereditary obesity, chromosomal obesity, behavioural obesity and nutritional obesity. The first two need treatment, but the last two can be controlled,” says Dr Srinivasan.
HOW TO CONTROL NUTRITIONAL OBESITY
Dr Srinivasan says nutritional obesity can occur in kids who are glued to the television while munching junk food. “This is common in the case of single children who have working parents,” he says. “Children with behavioural obesity gain weight because they do not have much physical activity,” added the registrar at the Institute of Child Health.
HOW TO CONTROL CONDITIONS
Protein Spring Modified Fasting Diet — This is called four two’s, i,e., two hours of playing, two hours of watching television, drinking two litres of water and consuming two grams of protein per kilogram body weight, explains the doctor. Normally, children may consume over 2,000 calories a day. But obese children should consume less than 1,000 calories a day.
Another method is the Traffic Signal Diet, i,e., green, yellow and red. Green, means consume plenty of vegetables, yellow means be careful, not to consume too much carbohydrate or protein, and red means stay away from fried food, and fats like cheese and butter.
WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
Don’t try to reduce body weight at one go. Don’t reduce more than five kgs each month. Losing more weight than that would cause additional problems. In the long run, the person may get heart problems, diabetes, asthma and other complications, warns Dr Srinivasan.