Obesity among kids a rising concern, One in five overweight
The trend of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of sleep, which was more prevalent among adults, is now seen in children too, say doctors.
BENGALURU: The prevalence of obesity among children has increased so much that kids as young as 10 years are being diagnosed with diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, doctors say. Dealing with such children is similar to dealing with adults suffering from similar issues.
Dr Manjiri Somashekhar, lead and senior consultant, of paediatric surgery, at Aster CMI Hospital, says obesity among children, especially ones from affluent backgrounds, is a concern. It is often seen that children in the age group of 8-12 weigh an average of 60kg, which is double the acceptable weight for children of that age group.
Dr Manjiri says she sees close to 150 children in the outpatient department each month, of whom at least 30 are obese (1 in 5 children). Doctors say poor dietary habits, coupled with a lack of supervision from parents, have resulted in obesity in children. Dr Manjiri explained that the consumption of processed foods that are rich in preservatives is also a factor.
In a city like Bengaluru, it is observed that more school-going children from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds are obese. “In most cases, parents do not pay much attention to children’s increasing weight unless they fall sick too often. Also, a slightly heavy child is considered healthy,” another doctor elaborates.
Along with being overweight, issues of constipation and severe appendicitis are the most common issues among children, which are dealt with by laparoscopic surgeries. Dr Manohar KN Nageshappa, chairman, of Diabetes Society of India-Karnataka chapter, explains that obesity has been prevalent for a long time. The obesity pandemic was a silent one which got ignited with the Covid-19 pandemic, he adds. The trend of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of sleep, which was more prevalent among adults, is now seen in children too, say doctors.
Dr Manohar added that parents’ attitude toward letting children eat what they want has caused such issues, which will lead to a rise in many other diseases among children, much earlier than expected.