HYDERABAD: Being a couch potato was never good. It becomes decidedly problematic if you start early. That’s just what seems to be happening as a recent multi-city survey revealed that sedentary lifestyle was leading to obesity among children, with nearly 65% suffering from BMI (body mass index) issues.
The medicine for these children of the digital age is a bitter one. No screen time for those below three years and only limited screen dose for those above three years is what experts recommend. Jack, surely, has to play, but not digitally.
“About 8% girls and 9% boys were found to have high BP. And an average of 65% children have BMI-related issues,” says the study by a Hyderabad based healthcare start-up ‘Healpha’. The survey screened 64,615 children from 3-18 years in Telangana, AP, TN, Karnataka and Maharashtra. While the study takes into account time before Covid, doctors say obesity and related issues spiked since pandemic.
“There has been a rise in obesity cases in the last 18 months in children as young as 2-3 years old, particularly due to unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity. This has also increased diabetes among children aged 3-15. Hypertension seen in children is mostly secondary in nature, being related to renal, heart or hormonal issues,” said Dr Dinesh Kumar Chirla, director of intensive care services at Rainbow Children’s Hospitals.
“Obesity is the main reason. Some between 10-15 years have BP of 170. In most cases, parents do not want medication at such a young age. Obesity is a vicious circle. The child often becomes aloof, gets depressed and gets even more hooked to junk food,” said Dr Manabendra Ghosh, a general physician from Tolichowki.
Healpha founder Raj Janapareddy says, “Our tests showed that only 0.0018% children are in perfect health. This is alarming. It is a reality check for parents, teachers and government about the status of the future of India — our children.