Obesity alert: Docs advise on school menu

Obesity-alertGrowing concern over obesity in children has prompted the Indian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons to sound an alarm.

On World Obesity Day, city-based doctors have sent out guidelines to schools to put an end to stocking fizzy drinks, replacing pizzas with healthy snacks and making PT compulsory.

“World Health Organization sent out a warning over the possibility of obesity becoming an epidemic in India within 2025,” said Manoj Khanna, chairman, Indian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

“With junk food in canteens, children get hooked o them, which only leads to intake of unwanted calories. Pizza, burgers, fizzy colas, chips, deep fried food items and samosas have a high calorific value,” he added.

Doctors say that overweight children between 3 to 9 years have a 40% possibility of becoming obese adults while an overweight child between 12 to 18 years has a 70% chance.

“The main idea is to prevent obesity in schools and catch them young. Bad diet, wrong food habits, sugarloaded food, and inadequate exercise are the main offenders. Two decades back, students went out to play, but now they are more interested in video games. The sedentary lifestyle has also got them addicted to junk food,” Khanna added.

Among suggestions given by the association is marking students on their ability to play outdoor games, making at least two sporting activities compulsory , preventing entry of packed food inside school premises, replacing fizzy drinks with fresh juice, counselling parents, and holding classes to teach students the difference between healthy and unhealthy food. At a workshop held on obesity at Belle Vue Clinic on Sunday , experts called for government intervention to counter the growing problems related to obesity . The workshop was attended by Khanna and Sarfaraz J Baig, bariatric surgeon and director, Bariatric & Metabolism Initiative, Belle Vue Clinic, along with others.

“Obesity kills more patients than malnutrition in a country where poverty is rampant. Obesity kills indirectly through diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea (snoring), liver disease and cancer,” an expert said.

Some institutions, like The Future Foundation School, do not stock fizzy drinks and have made PT compulsory not only for students, but teachers, too.