Increasing obesity among children a cause for concern: NCDPA

March 01, 2024 11:03 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - KOCHI

Non Communicable Diseases Prevention Academy (NCDPA) under the Indian Academy of Paediatrics has recommended the ‘5-2-1-0’ rule to check obesity among children.

It referred to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; two hours or less total screen time daily, one hour of physical activity daily, and zero consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and ultra processed foods, the academy said in a communication as part of the World Obesity Day on March 4.

It is estimated that by 2030, one of 10 obese children will be from India, with the third highest numbers after China and the USA. A report published in Lancet in March 2024 showed that globally, obesity had increased 4.5 times from 1990 to 2022, it said. 

The NCDPA pointed out that the current lifestyle of eating unhealthy processed foods, spending long hours on screens and tuitions rather than going out to play actively, poor and inadequate sleep, and lack of urban spaces contributed towards a remarkably obesogenic environment.

Lack of physical activity at home and school and unrestricted screen time — mobile phones, computers, other devices — are the other culprits for children becoming fat. Parents and elders focus on studies, rather than all-round development, sending children to tuitions rather than encouraging them to play. Sleeping and waking up late and insufficient sleep also contribute to weight gain. All these factors interfere not only with normal growth and also with brain development, it said.

The academy reiterated its recommendation to introduce front-of-pack labelling of packaged foods/beverages to make people aware about what they are consuming and a ban on advertisements of high-fat sugar salt (HFSS) foods.

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