Log off, eat healthy and play hard

Updated on Nov 15, 2007 04:08 AM IST

With junk food taking over daily diets and online games edging out physical activity, kids are becoming easy target for diabetes, reports Sanchita Sharma.

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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Junk food and obsession with Internet are making kids’ waistlines bulge and increasing their risk of developing diabetes, warn experts.

Children should eat less junk food and involve themselves more in physical activities to avoid developing Type-II diabetes before they turn 30. Type-II usually develops in middle age because the body stops producing the required amount of insulin.

Two years ago, children with Type-II diabetes accounted for 1-2 per cent in a pediatric diabetes clinic. Now it’s 20-30 per cent.

“Type-I diabetes is not going down in children but Type-II is increasing. Unhealthy lifestyle is to blame for this. Overweight children have 70 per cent chance of growing up to be overweight adults, who are twice as likely to have diabetes as compared to children with normal weight as reported by Diabetes Care last year,” says Dr Ambrish Mithal, senior endocrinologist, Apollo Hospital.

There are 250 million people with diabetes in the world; 40 million of them in India. And another 40 million are at the risk of developing it. As many as 18 per cent of 10-14 year-olds in 30 Delhi schools surveyed were overweight, found a Delhi Diabetes Research Centre (DDRC) study in 2006.

A follow-up study found that junk food was to blame.

“A child’s knowledge of the types of junk food available goes up from 11 per cent in class III to 66 per cent in class V,” says Dr Ashok Jhingan, chairman, DDRC, who presented the findings at the WHO on November 6.

This study confirms a survey of 18 city schools done by AIIMS that said one in three children ate out more than three times a week, two in three were inactive and one in seven were at risk of heart disease.

The AIIMS survey also found that chips, potato burgers and pizzas, which are pure carbohydrate and fat, are the most common snacks among children, while aerated drinks are another regular source of empty calories as they have no nutritive value.


    Sanchita is the health & science editor of the Hindustan Times. She has been reporting and writing on public health policy, health and nutrition for close to two decades. She is an International Reporting Project fellow from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was part of the expert group that drafted the Press Council of India’s media guidelines on health reporting, including reporting on people living with HIV.

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