Obesity is the root cause of all non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular problems even at a younger age, Professor of Department of Medicine of AIIMS Delhi, Dr. Sanjeev Sinha said.
Sharing his views on the rising non-communicable diseases among children, Dr. Sinha exclusively told Drug Today Medical Times (DTMT)’s Rohit Shishodia that controlling obesity in childhood can ensure a healthy life.
Children can prevent the risk of obesity by adopting the basics of a healthy lifestyle such as eating fruits, green vegetables, and regularly exercising.
Dr. Sinha informed that these days even youngsters who are even less than twenty years of age are developing obesity which triggers hypertension, young-onset stroke, and cardiac arrests.
An international study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) had recently found that more than half of men-55%-and some two thirds-65%-of women currently aged 20 years in India are likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime, with most of those cases (around 95%) likely to be type 2 diabetic.
If the findings of this study come true then India may face serious health issues in the future. But even then obesity can be prevented by inculcating the habits of a healthy lifestyle.
While talking about how obesity is being developed among children, Dr. Sinha stressed that lack of physical activities such as, walk, cycling, and sports, sedentary lifestyle, gluing to smartphones and computer screens and intake of unhealthy diet such as burgers, pizzas are resulting in the early onset of obesity which is linked to non-communicable diseases.
“Food that includes a lot of carbohydrates, salt, fat, and spice cause unhealthy lifestyle or non-communicable diseases,” Dr. Sinha added.
He informed that obese young kids are having hypertension, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, which can lead to early cardiac diseases and paralytic attacks.
“Causes of these diseases include a history of unhealthy lifestyles like more smoking and more alcohol in the young age, environmental causes, genetic causes, and less physical activities,” Dr. Sinha said.
While talking about the prevention of complex diseases involving an excessive amount of body fat, Dr. Sinha explained that lifestyle management is the most crucial aspect to prevent these ailments.
“Do regular exercise, walk, yoga and take proper healthy diet. Avoid high salt diet, fatty diet, junk food, high sugar, saturated fat, and trans fats and increase physical activity. If you increase physical activity, these fats will burn and obesity will not develop,” he said.
“Stress is also one of the factors behind lifestyle diseases. Stress leads to anxiety, depression which will lead to obesity, hypertension, less physical activity, and when people are in depression they eat more. Positive thoughts play pivotal roles in preventing diseases,” he added.
A healthy diet plays a significant role in disease prevention. A healthy diet includes low-sugar and non-fatty diets. Importantly, one should take food and breakfast on time. In fact, the timings should be fixed.
“I observe, nowadays, children skip breakfast. They take junk food for lunch at the school canteen or any outlet which is high in carbohydrates, high in fat, unsaturated fat and high in salt. This again results in obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac problems, and brain stroke. We have to make a healthy diet chart. We can consult a dietitian,” Dr. Sinha added.
He advised taking chapati, pulses, and small amounts of rice, which are high in protein, and asked to avoid a high cholesterol diet.
While explaining the role of supplements Dr. Sinha said, “If you are taking proper diet and eating seasonal fruits and green vegetables and protein-rich diet, consuming an apple, banana, and lemon and taking vitamins from natural resources, there is no need to take supplements.”
He advised avoiding yellow eggs as they contain cholesterol but take white eggs, and emphasised taking milk, and warned to not take high-fat milk. Also, he asked to avoid too much butter and fat.