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Calorie wise would be health wise for overweight children say health experts

Posted:  Monday, September 07, 2015

Earlier in March, an Indian baby named Aliya Saleem caught the headlines for all the wrong reasons; for weighing 18.7 kgs at 10 months. She was born a 4 kg chubby infant as opposed to the Indian normal of 2.5 kgs. Cookies and biscuits were the reasons for Aliya’s overweight state. However, doctors are not surprised since childhood obesity has flexed its claws on children early. They hence advise parents and children to be calorie and portion size conscious.

The statistics of childhood obesity are scary. Paediatricians have witnessed a 10% rise in cases of childhood obesity over the past 5 years. Children now, it seems, are born heavy with the average birth weight being recorded at 3 to 3.5 kgs. Additionally, it was observed that 50–60% children double their weight by 3 months, a process which should naturally occur at 5 months of age. At present, 1 in 10 cases of childhood obesity are seen in children as young as 3 to 5 years of age.

As a solution, children are now being taught to count calories much before they can grasp counting numbers. Children’s all time favourite foods such as chips, biscuits and ice-creams are under the scanner. Simply restricting their frequency and controlling the portion size of carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and potatoes can help address the issue.

Children could also be sensitised to saying no to a second helping and controlling portion sizes. At the same time, parents could provide healthier alternatives such as buttermilk or yoghurt instead of colas. Apart from this, physical activity is also one of the important components to keep childhood obesity at bay.

Intervention should start from mothers say researchers. During pregnancy, mothers gaining more than 10 to 15 kgs could result in higher birth weight. In conclusion, inculcating healthy eating habits in children and dedicatedly practising them could help fight the battle against childhood obesity.

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