Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Even though the number of obese and overweight children in the country are lower than in most of the countries in the West, the Indian population is at a higher risk that their Western counterparts. This is the opinion of many cardiologists who have taken up intensive studies on the disease.

An article titled “Paediatric Heart Care in India” by Dr. R. Krishna Kumar and Dr. S. Srivastava published in The British Medical Journal, said South Asians appear to be more at risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases (CVD) compared to the white populations with similar body mass index (BMI) levels. A small increase in the BMI may translate into a substantial increase in the CVD burden, says the article.

The article says that the magnitude of the problem is substantial and is likely to increase rapidly in the near future. There is also an urgent need to develop data for BMI and other indices for blood pressure and lipid profiles in Indian children that would more aptly suit the population of the country.

The World Health Organisation has also reported that chronic diseases are the major cause of death in almost all countries, including those in Asia. It is estimated that 70 per cent of these deaths will happen in developing Asian nations like China, India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The impact of changing lifestyles is evident in most urban children, said paediatric cardiologist Dr. Krishna Kumar. Surveys from a few cities have indicated that obesity is going to be more prevalent than it is now. And childhood obesity is directly related to the incidence of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolaemis.

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