Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bringing up a healthy child.

Gone are the days when a 'plump' child was considered as healthy. I remember my mom always admired plump kids and tried her best to feed her skinny daughter (you're right-ME)! Today, mother's get worried if their child is even 'pleasantly' plump. This is the case not just here in the US(where the awareness of child obesity and the associated high cholesterol risks are high),but back home in urban India too. When I worked at Manipal Hospital with the pediatric endocrinologist,I had the chance to counsel many kids under the age of 10 who were not only over-weight but some of whom were also diagnosed with high cholesterol levels.Back then almost all the parents were shocked as they always thought 'cholesterol' was something 'one needs to worry or take care of after the age of 45'.It's a myth that cholesterol starts to build up in the arteries only after forty. Infact, it's building up in your arteries even as you read this.
What are the reasons that children nowadays are more prone to obesity and hypercholesterolemia?The three main reasons:
  1. Lack of exercise
  2. Junk food,chocolates/sweets and colas
  3. Eating in front of the T.V
When we were kids we played outdoor games almost every day. These days you'll rarely find kids playing outside,which means that they get very less exercise. That and the fact that junk food has started to replace the traditional (non-fried) Indian foods in many households adds to the situation.
What does eating in front of the T.V have to do with weight gain?-a lot apparently.An episode on 'The Truth About Food' on Discovery showed an experiment wherein the conclusion was that we tend to eat more without realizing it while watching T.V.
The solution to this is that you as a parent need to make a change now.
  • Stop buying junk food and other 'calorie dense' foods on a regular basis,instead get them into the habit of eating 'nutrient dense' foods.
  • Join your kids in an outdoor sport/game that everyone enjoys,that way the whole family gets an exercise.
  • Start having meals together at the table and talk to your family.
It's one small step for you,but a 'big' leap towards a healthier life for you and your child!

Read more:
1.Kids and Cholesterol
2.Adult Fast-Food Diets Tied to Too much TV as Teen


Smitha Suresh said...

Wonderful - you took the words out of my mouth - loved the mention of my fave program which does not air nowadays :(

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

I loved the program too-watched every episode!! Birds of a feather......???

Unknown said...

Intelligent post :)

Jayashree Srivatsan said...

Agree, Healthy eating is very imperative for the kids

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

@Ghazala-thank u :)
@Jaish- True!!