Articles on childhood obesity

Children of Obese Mothers Have Higher Heart Risk

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Weight loss is a lot more than just about looking good. Its about good health. People associate obesity with personal health but recent studies have suggested that mothers who are overweight can have an effect on the heart health of their child at birth. Other issues such as fetal distress and increased risk of obesity, hypertension and metabolic disorders later in life were also identified. According to this study children of obese and overweight women have a higher risk of premature death from heart attacks and other cardiovascular related diseases.A Scottish research showed a 35% higher risk of dying before the age of 55 for adults whose mothers were obese during pregnancy. It also stated that maternal obesity increases the risk of premature death and hospital admission for cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and angina.Obese people are at a higher risk of heart disease, because of their lifestyle and eating habits. According to another study, being overweight in pregnancy may cause permanent changes in appetite control and energy metabolism in the unborn child, leading to a greater risk of heart problems in later life. The study highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, sensible eating habits and sufficient activity during pregnancy.To avoid obesity during pregnancy it is important to follow a balanced and nutritious diet, along with some exercise or activity. During this phase the body needs extra nutrition for the developing foetus. Not just for the pregnant woman, but even for the lactation period that will follow. But, it is important to note that being pregnant doesn't indicate that the mother has to consume food for two individuals, as she is supporting a life within her. The key to a healthy pregnancy is to consume a balanced diet with light and frequent meals, and to regularly take the supplements or medicines prescribed by the doctor. One should also try to be active, for e.g. go for walks or do pregnancy specific yoga, but under supervision.

Tv in the Bedroom Might Be Linked to Childhood Obesity

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Obesity is amongst the most common health problems among the youth today. There can be many reasons that lead to obesity such as overeating, medical condition, no physical activity, etc. In a recent national study, researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center found that having a television in th bedroom was a significant predictor of adolescent weight gain. The researchers have observed that children who have televisions in their bedroom put on much more weight and show high BMI parameters than those who don’t.The researchers said they don't know the exact reasons for the weight gain but they offered two possibilities: greater exposure to food advertising and disrupted sleep patterns, including later bedtimes and poorer sleep quality.Sleep deprivation is one of the adverse effects of having a television in the bedroom. Sleep is very necessary for our health. At least 7-8 hours of sleep a day is required. It is seen that children with televisions in their bedroom, have sleep problems and ultimately gain weight. According to experts "When kids have TV in the bedroom, they isolate themselves from the family," he added. "They tend to go to bed later. They tend to be less active. They tend to snack on junk food. All of this will increase weight."It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough hours of good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly.Also, when you are sleep deprived, you will automatically feel low on energy and will grab something unhealthy to eat, which will gradually give you unwanted fat.Bedroom televisions linked to increase in BMIResults of one of the study revealed that having a television in the bedroom was linked to an excess BMI of 0.57 at 2 years after study baseline and an excess BMI of 0.75 at 4 years after study baseline. Furthermore, they say a bedroom television may increase exposure to child-targeted food advertising.It becomes important to conduct parental education regarding this issue which can affect the child’s health. It is important to keep the youngsters in discipline in their daily routine. Removing the television from the bedroom could tackle the problem of obesity to some extent.

3 Major Reasons for Childhood Obesity

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A chubby child might be cute, but did you know that childhood obesity can not only have an impact on the child’s immediate health, but can affect the child’s health adversely for many decades to come. It is estimated that one in five children between the age of 6 to 17 is overweight. Many of these children face a high risk of developing obesity related problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Let us discuss 3 major reasons for childhood obesity. 1. Inadequate sleepIt has been found that in the first year, infants need 14 to 18 hours of sleep in a day. Out of this, 10 hours at night and the remainder during daytime. Toddlers need 13 hours, and up to about 18 or 19 months, they should still be getting two naps a day and 10 hours at night. Lack of sleep can disturb the behavior of the child and they can start behaving stubborn, irritated or frustrated. An overtired child in school may have trouble focusing and paying attention in class. He may become forgetful and make silly mistakes.2. If any of the parent is obeseChildren learn things from their parents. So, if you are obese and if you tend to buy foods that are convenient to eat and tasty, such as cookies and chips, your child will have a higher risk of being obese. To keep yourself and your child fit, encourage your child to take up a sport, walking, running or any other physical activity.3. Parental restriction of a child's eatingParents trying to restrict their children's access to certain foods will only make them want those foods more. For example, if kids have never had a chance to eat potato chips regularly, they may overstuff themselves when the food appears at a friend's party or picnic. Therefore, moderation and control in portion is the key to control your weight. Being parents you need to work on changing the food environment in your home so that a wide variety of healthy choices such as fruits and vegetables are available while unhealthy options are not.To keep your children healthy don’t use unhealthy food to comfort them when they are hurt or disappointed.

High Salt Intake in Childhood Might Be Linked to Obesity

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
High salt intake has been blamed as one of the root causes for obesity in adults. And now research shows that it even applies to children. Research published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the more salt children consume; the more they slurped on sugar-sweetened drinks. And those who drank more than a serving a day were 26% more likely to be overweight or obese, suggesting that salt may be part of the chain of events contributing to the childhood-obesity epidemic.Apart from this study, one of the research studies also showed that adults or children who ate more salt, felt thirstier and consumed more fluid. This has been quoted by Carley Grimes, the study’s lead author, a dietitian and doctoral student at Deakin University in Australia. The amount of salt in your blood rises and to control it, your body gets thirsty. But the problem with adolescents is that, when they feel thirsty, they try to reach out for soda and sugar based drinks instead of water, which ultimately leads to unhealthy weight gain.Salt-rich diets could be the key to why some children battle with obesity, according to a research at the University of London. In a study of data on 1,600 children, they found that children eating a salty diet tend to drink more, including more sugary sodas and drinks.The researchers calculated that for every gram of salt those children consumed, they also drank 17 g of sugary drinks. The kids who did not commonly drink sugar-sweetened beverages wound up eating more than half a gram of salt less than the group of kids who drank sugary drinks. “That’s significant,” says Grimes. “It’s a bag of chips a day”It is very important to educate adolescents about salt intake. Here are some tips which can be inculcated in your lifestyle, to help reduce salt intake.Try to consume home cooked food most of the time.Stick to fruits, salads and vegetables.Consume calcium rich foods like milk and other dairy products.Other than obesity, a high salt diet can trigger other health problems like high blood pressure and cardiovascular ailments. Controlling salt intake might be difficult in India, since salt consumption is high across all regions and foods. Try to refrain from adding extra salt to home food, or when eating out.

Obesity: A Disease of New Era!

Dr. Shashank Shah, General Surgeon
Obesity is known to be a disease, when your body fat percentage is more than normal.Obesity is a complex multifactoral disease involving environment, family history and genetics, metabolism, behavior or habits and more.Even though genetic and hormonal factors are not under human control, obesity can be best prevented by a healthy life style which includes consumption of optimum calories and increase activity to the maximum.Reaching and staying at healthy weight is a long term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it is also the chance to lower your risk for other serious health problems.Scientifically approved treatment and commitment will be successful in lowering and maintaining weight and thereby lowering your long term disease risk.WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO OBESITY?Excess calorie intake: - Even though it is thought that increased calories “in” and less calories “out” can treat obesity, it rarely happens .However reduction in calorie consumption is always beneficial.Sedentary lifestyle: - sedentary lifestyle not only leads to overweight and obesity but also raises your risk to coronary heart disease, increased BP , diabetes, colonic cancer and many other health problems.Environmental factors:- westernization in consuming high calorie food , and westernization in every type including use of internet, comfort, etc is the major contribution to the pandemic of obesity.Genetic factors: - Family history of diabetes and obesity does predispose the siblings to have the same disease. Genetics affect the body fat composition and distribution. Indians are more prone to have more fat even at a lower BMI and a typically prone for central / truncal obesity. Hence truncal obesity is known to contribute to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease then just obesity alone.Endocrine factors contributing to obesity: - Various endocrine factors like Cushing’s need to be investigated in a patient with a morbid obesity before initiating treatment. Even though hypothyroidism is known to increase weight, the effects are known to reverse once the thyroid function is reverted to normal. However it is important to understand and explain that hypothyroidism when treated is rarely a cause for severe obesity.Medications: - Certain medications like corticosteroids, antidepressants, seizure medicines can induce weight gain and hence patient should be counseled to take necessary preventive measures while taking such medicines.Depression and emotional eating: Both these are known to provoke weight gain. However published reports suggest that surgical treatment of obesity can improve depression and such behavior.Ageing: - hormonal changes are known to decrease your lean body mass. Hence increase in activity is recommended as age advances.Lack of sleep: - research shows lack of sleep increases risk of obesity. Sleep helps in maintain a healthy balance of hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin) .Lack of sleep results in higher levels of blood sugars also and may increase your risk for diabetes.WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING OVERWEIGHT & OBESE?Overweight and obesity affect people of all ages, sexes and racial/ethnic groups. This serious health problem has been growing over the last 30 years to reach almost an epidemic. Among Asian adults 76% of women & 74 % of men are overweight. This problem has not spared the children and teenagers also. Obesity has tripled among school children and teenagers, 1 in 6 between age 2 to 19 are either overweight or obese.SIGNS & SYMPTOMS YOU CAN GAUGE FOR YOURSELF.Cloths fitting tight and needing larger size.Scale showing you have gained weightHaving extra fat around waistHigher than normal BMI & waist circumferenceOnset of diabetes , hypertension , dyslipidemiaJoint painsSnoringWHAT IS BMI ?BMI is body mass index it is calculated as belowBMI = Weight in Kgs / ( Height in meters)2Asian consensus of BMI (JAPI Feb 2009)BMI:18 to 22.9 : Normal23 to 24.9 : Overweight>25: ObeseWHERE TO FIND SOLUTION FOR THIS DISEASE?You should seek treatment at expert obesity clinics with multidisciplinary team ofEndocrinologistRegistered dieticianExercise physiologistBariatric surgeonPsychiatrist/psychologistClinical social worker. 

Tips for Reducing Obesity!

Dr. Shital Baldava, Homeopath
Obesity is  considered as a disease and acts as a risk factor for many diseases like arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and even depression.Causes:HereditaryHormonalSedentary lifestyleEating HabitsTips to reduce obesity:If there is any underlying cause such as hormonal imbalance like hypothyroidism etc., it needs to be checked.Reduce your calorie intake than only body will be able to used stored fat.Start  your day with warm water, half lemon and half teaspoon of honey.Along with that take 1 teaspoon of flax seeds.Include three servings of fruits out of which one serving should be of dryfruit.Take seasonal fruit, no fruit juices.Avoid fruits like banana, custard apple which are high in calories.Four servings of vegetable including  green leafy vegetable.Start your lunch or dinner with a plate of salad or bowl of soup.Include variety of cereals like wheat, jowar, bajra, corn etc.Take Brown rice instead of white rice.At least twice take oats for breakfast.Instead of two large meal take 4 smaller portions.Drink 10 to 12 glasses of water daily.Whenever you are hungry in between drink water, buttermilk or coconut water.Avoid sweets and fried things.Exercise daily for half an hour.Go for a walk after dinner.There are Homeopathic medicines which when taken along with the above measures helps to lose weight successfully.Remember weight loss can only be achieved by the joint effort of doctor and patient.

Can Obesity Be Treated?

Dr. Atul Krishan Sharma, Gastroentrology Surgeon
Obesity, a disease in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it is having a negative effect on your health, and which if untreated will lead to significant reduction in life expectancy, has reached epidemic proportions in India. Morbid obesity is affecting 5% of the population, which is surprising in a country where over 250 million people live below the poverty line. In a study - titled 'Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013' published in the “The Lancet” in August 2014, India is very closely following USA and China in the prevalence of obesity - a trend in most developing countries. Rising income is increasing the average caloric intake per individual among the middle class. Unhealthy processed “junk” food, alcohol and sedentary lifestyles is making one in every five Indian overweight. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food energy intake, lack of physical activity and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications, or psychiatric illness. Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing rates in adults and children. WHO views it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. In western countries a Body Mass Index (BMI - which is the ratio of the individual’s weight divided by the body surface area in M2) more than 25 kg/m2 is considered overweight. Due to genetic tendency of Indians towards abdominal obesity and its associated risk of related lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnoea, infertility, arthritis of the hips and knees, depression and social ostracism. As per the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) updated guidelines of 2012 Indians with a BMI over 23 kg/m2 is considered overweight; over 25 is considered obese and more than 32.5 an indication for Bariatric surgery. Based on data from the last (2007) National Family Health Survey conducted, the prevalence of obesity is highest in Punjab. Haryana is in the 6th position.            Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery alters the digestive system to help people with severe weight-related health problems lose weight dramatically at an average rate of One Kg per week and significantly reduce all the obesity related health issues. It is very different from liposuction, as no fat is removed during the operation. The fat is lost by the patient by adhering to a diet and undertaking regular exercise. However, the alteration made in the digestive tract makes it easier for the individual to follow the dietary advice. Appetite is suppressed and even a small amount of food gives the patient a sensation of satiety and fullness. Patients usually come for surgery having tried all kinds of weight loss regimens, packages & diets, and having experienced a number of rebound weight gain after some weight loss, also known as the “yo-yo” phenomenon. This is due to the extreme difficulty experienced in sticking to a rigid diet for too long. There are many types bariatric surgery. All of them are performed through a method of minimal access (by laparoscopy) under general anesthesia. The three commonly performed procedures are: Gastric Banding is a procedure in which surgeons place an adjustable silicone band around the upper portion of the patient's stomach to reduce stomach to a small pouch of a capacity of 30 ml. The band requires frequent adjustments, has the complication of slippage or displacement and a high chance of infection or erosion into the stomach. Although, it has the advantage of being reversible but in practice is hardly ever reversed. The procedure has now been largely given up.            Gastric BypassProcedure reduces stomach size and diverts the passage of food through the small intestine to limit digestion, leaving patients feeling full after eating less. However, it is a complex procedure which alters the anatomy of the digestive tract significantly and has a definite risk of developing a leak from the sight of anastomosis.         Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure is a surgical weight loss option in which 75 percent of the patient's stomach is removed, thus converting the stomach from a bag or pouch like organ into a tube. The part of the stomach which produces the hormone called Grehlin, which stimulates the feeling of hunger (appetite) is removed and the patient feels satiated after a small meal. The way food passes through the alimentary tract is not altered. Although there have been complications of leak and bleeding reported, these are much less that in the Gastric Bypass procedure. The longitudinal gastric sleeve resection is the currently preferred operation by most Bariatric surgeons. The patient goes through a protocol based preoperative preparation, which includes a detailed evaluation by an endocrinologist, psychological counselor, getting clearances from the Cardiologist & Respiratory physician as a preanaesthetic assessment. He / she is also counseled by the dietitian as to the diet to be used for two weeks prior to the operation and what to expect after the procedure. Three to five days admission to the hospital is all that is required before you can embark upon an exciting journey of progressive and sustained weight loss at the rate of one Kg per week for the next two years, to regain your health and self-confidence after reaching your ideal weight. Some dietary supplements like proteins, calcium, iron and vitamins are required to be taken life long, a small price to pay when you consider the benefits of being off insulin and blood pressure medicines and being able to slip into your favorite old pair of jeans!Some mythsMyth:You’ll live on a liquid diet and protein shakes for the rest of your life & it will be difficult to eat with family and friends.Truth:All patients put on a liquid diet for 10 – 14 days before and after surgery, to help with the operation and healing process. A couple of weeks post-surgery, they are weaned off liquid diet and soon all patients eat small quantities of home cooked food. Dietitians work with patients to show them the kinds of meals they can make that will fit in their new healthy lifestyle, which can actually be shared with family members and friends.Myth:Bariatric surgery is the easy way out.Truth:Bariatric surgery is only a tool to help patients follow a diet plan & achieve weight-loss faster and for a prolonged duration, and to prevent a rebound weight gain by reducing their appetite and inducing early satiety. If patients don’t follow a healthy diet, exercise, and take their vitamins, it won’t work.Myth:You will be left with a big scar after weight loss surgery.TruthAll weight loss surgeries are now carried out laparoscopically, meaning you will be left with a very small mark. The laparoscopic technique is a way that a surgeon can perform complex procedures that used to require the conventional large incisions through minimal access.Myth:You cannot get pregnant after weight loss surgery.Truth: It is possible to have children after weight loss surgery, your fertility will improve. However, most doctors will advise you to wait 1-2 years before trying to get pregnant. This is because you need to wait until you have lost most of what you wanted to lose and your weight loss has stabilized.

Caution: Child Obesity in India on the Rise

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Pizza's & Burgers  and junk food joints have become a hot spot for children now a days to fill their tiny stomach's. Well, pizza's & the burgers taste nice and exciting but are unable to provide the nutrition that is required for healthy living. Obesity in children has tripled in the past two decades and an alarming concern for us to take note of the fact. The rate of development of mind and body in children decreases with junk food due to the empty calories it provides. A regular pizza provides about 600-800 calories whereas a burger provides you with around 300 calories.A research report written about a study on Prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. According to that report 16 % children 6-19 year old are overweight or obese, this is three times what it was before. In addition, this report brings out the fact that also during this same time period an additional 15% were "at risk of becoming overweight".Researchers also warn that children who are fed with junk food have lower IQ than their counterparts who ate nutritious food.  Junk food may fill the stomach but cant provide the quality of energy which nutritious foods provide. Junk foods are high in saturated fat and oil which leads to high cholesterol levels make you feel lazy and drowsy, resulting in lower concentration levels in children. Junk food decrease the efficiency which is important for children. Heart related diseases are growing with obesity and weight gain is normal for people on a junk food diet.Once the habit is developed for junk food, it gets very difficult to get rid of the addiction. To ensure that kids do not make this unhealthy lifestyle a permanent part of their life one should start inculcating good nutritional habits from the beginning. Ensuring enough physical activities is an equally important aspect of every child's growth. In case you need professional assistance to get you started on a healthier lifestyle for your family call us for a free consultancy and speak to our expert now.

Worried About Your Child’s Obesity? Watch the Kilos Melt Away With This Action Plan!

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
Childhood obesity is on the rise! As a parent, it is not easy to accept the fact that your child might be obese or even overweight. The body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight to calculate whether a child falls into underweight, average, overweight or obese categories. Even if your child is a little overweight, it is easier to shed the extra pounds as compared to adults. (Moreover in young kids we just want baby to maintain that weight and do not allow the child to gain weight further and with time as the age grows child will fall in normal weight category)Obesity, be it in children or adults, has multiple risk factors associated with it. It affects the entire body and causes our body functions to go haywire. Most common associated risks with obesity are:Increased risk for type II diabetes due to insulin resistance;High risk for respiratory conditions such as asthma;Abnormal sleep patterns and snoring issues;Depression and low self- esteem due to the body shape and always stared upon;Risk of high blood pressure;Joint problems due to large weightIn current time, childhood obesity is spreading like an epidemic through all the cultures. The action plan to get rid of this menace includes:1. Get rid of calorie-rich temptations Avoid giving your child extra calories such as chocolates and fried chips for snacks. Instead try fresh fruits or vegetables with dips for snacking.2. Decrease extra sugarTry not to put extra sugar in milk or any other food that you might serve to your child.3. Regular scheduled meals and adequate portion sizeHaving small meals and snacks in between the meals decreases production of fat and increases metabolism. Try child-size servings instead of adult-size. Add juices, smoothies, beans, pulses, five portions of fruit and vegetables.4. Do not eat out too oftenOutside food might contain too much oil, butter, salt and sugar. Basically, nothing beats homemade food! So avoid eating out.5. ExerciseExercising is the best way to lose weight. Make it interesting for your kids. Play sports with them, go bike riding or on any other activity they like. 6. Decrease sedentary lifestyleChildren’s life these days has become sedentary because of increased use of electronic devices such as TV, iPads, Tablets, etc. Lifestyle surrounding these gadgets must be avoided.7. Lead by example/ Be a role modelBe the change you want to see in your child. Behave like you want them to in front of you. This is true especially for diet and exercise. If your kids see you eating healthy food and exercise regularly, they will try to follow your footsteps.So, kick start these above mentioned activities and watch your kids transform from being overweight to being healthy and fit.