On world obesity day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday expressed pressing concern over rise in the number of obesity cases among children in Kashmir valley.
“Junk food and sedentary lifestyle are pushing more children towards obesity,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
According to a latest survey by National family Health Survey (NFHS-5), Kashmir has registered an increase in the percentage of obesity among children.
The number of overweight children increased from 2.1 percent in NFHS-4 survey conducted in 2015-16 to 3.4 percent in NFHS -5 which was conducted in 2019-20.
Dr Hassan said one big factor for this spike is junk food which has largely replaced homemade meals.
Children are often seen taking fast foods like burgers and pizzas.
They are addicted to chips, sugary drinks and frozen ready meals.
“Television advertisements targeting children and junk foods being sold in school cafeterias are shifting dietary habits of children from healthy food to processed food,” he said.
He further said with high dependency on smartphones, we are increasingly witnessing children leading to sedentary lifestyle.
“And physical inactivity is also contributing to spike in obesity cases among young ones,” he said.
The DAK President said childhood obesity has been linked to health conditions like Diabetes, Asthma, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, joint problems and liver disease.
“Many of these health conditions had only been seen in adults, now they are extremely prevalent in overweight children,” he said.
“Obesity is becoming a major health crisis. We need to do more to raise awareness and encourage action towards its elimination,” said Dr Nisar.
He said it is vitally important to educate parents to prevent their children from becoming obese.
They have to encourage them to eat healthy and take up some sport in leisure time.
“Preventing obesity helps protect your child’s health now and in the future,” he added.