Also the correlation between LVMI and BP suggested higher risk for developing cardiovascular complications among the obese children. [Maggio et.al, 2008] As per the deal with Kraft Foods Inc., Mars Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Groupe Danone SA and PepsiCo Inc., the calories derived from fat and saturated fat are limited to 35% and 10% respectively in all the products that are supplied in the school vending machines or snack bars. As Dr. Raymond Gibbons, president of the American Heart foundation puts it, "By working with schools and industry to implement these guidelines, we are helping to give parents peace of mind that their kids will be able to make healthier choices at school" [Wordpress]
Coronary Heart Diseases
Childhood obesity is implicated as a chief risk factor for developing coronary heart diseases in adult life. As per a prediction by Bibbins-Domingo et al., the increased prevalence of childhood obesity among the current population will result in up to 16% increase in the prevalence of CHD by 2035. (involving an addition of up to 100,000 cases.) [David S. Ludwig, 2007] a recent Danish research studied the relationship between childhood obesity and the onset of adulthood CHD. For this study the researchers observed the BMI of 276,835 Danish school children taken from the national registers. It was observed that 10,235 men and 4318 women developed CHD and died. Using regression analyses to the data revealed a clear positive correlation between higher BMI in childhood and contracting CHD in adulthood and the association was much stronger among boys. Childhood obesity definitely increases the chances of developing cardio vascular complications in adulthood. [Jennifer et.al, 2007]
Psychological and Psychosocial Effects
Being obese affects not only the physical well-being of the person but also has psychological and psychosocial implications. As Professor Philippe Froguel who was the main researcher in a longitudinal genetic study of obesity among children says, "When young children become obese, their lives can be affected in a very negative way. Sadly, obese children are often unfairly stigmatized and they can suffer heart and lung problems, painful joints, diabetes and cancer as they grow up. " [ScienceDaily] Several studies have focused on the link between child obesity and depression. A study by Sarah Mustillo et.al found that childhood obesity was associated with a high risk for the development of depression. This study involved 1000 children from North Carolina between the age group of 9 and 16. The children were followed up annually and were subjected to psychiatric evaluations based on their height, weight disorders and how they reacted to such disorders. The researchers gathered from the study that boys who were obese were four times more likely to develop depression compared to leaner boys. As Sarah Mustillo the main researcher of this study says, "We were looking at clinically significant depression, which is not the same as feeling blue. Overall, boys have lower rates of clinical depression, and this is what we found in the other groups. But chronic obesity in boys was associated with an elevated risk of depression." [WebMed]
Parental Guidance (Teach by example)
Childhood obesity presents a serious concern for the individual, family as well as the society at large so it is necessary to implement appropriate intervention strategies aimed at controlling the condition and thus reducing its impact. As primary caretakers of children, it is incumbent upon parents to inculcate good dieting habits in them. For this to happen they must be nutrition conscious and make their children knowledgeable about healthy eating.
Increasing nutrition awareness among the school kids is the first and foremost step in our fight against childhood obesity. Including nutrition programs as part of the school curriculum is an important approach to this end. Though the U.S. government has implemented the nutritional standards program for the school meals programs it does not cover the availability of foods outside of the program. More recently the number of states with 'nutrition standards program' for foods outside the 'school meal program' have increased from 6 to 27 indicating growing awareness and positive improvements. Data from a comprehensive survey by the CDC indicate that the number of schools that do not supply soda pop, candy and other junk foods have increased in 37 of the 40 states. [CDC] However these data are restricted only to the public schools and no information is available regarding the private schools. Though these results are encouraging, more work needs to be done to ensure that children do not have access to any kind of junk food inside the school campus. The UK is a case in point. The British government has enacted a ban on junk food advertisements targeting children under 16. This national regulation essentially bans food advertisements for products that are rich in Fat, salt, sugar in the national TV programs.[Commercial Alert ] it is high time a similar initiative is taken in our country.
The recent efforts by Bill Clinton and the American Heart Association to eliminate the sale of all carbonated drinks at schools and to permit only ...
Another important aspect from the schools' perspective is to increase the physical fitness programs and make mandatory more hours of physical training. So along with a comprehensive nutrition policy, programs pertaining to physical activity should also be concurrently implemented. The implementation of junk food restrictions along with 'physical activity programs' has found lot of support from the parents as well as the student community as professor Marg Schwartz of the university of Alberta says, "We have found children to be very responsive to healthy eating and physical activity when the whole school is involved. it's very encouraging. Kids need healthy schools to help turn the tide on many chronic diseases that are starting at younger and younger ages.." [Paul Veugelers]
Childhood obesity is growing at an alarming pace presenting serious health and socio economic consequences. Changing dietary habits, fast food addiction and a sedentary life style marked by prolonged TV viewing and video games have compromised our children's health. A multi-pronged approach involving parental guidance and school-based initiatives is necessary for tackling this preventable problem from developing into an unmanageable healthcare crisis. Good habits begin at home and so parents have all the responsibility in making children understand healthy eating habits. Parents should also enforce more discipline in children and limit the TV watching hours by encouraging more outdoor sports activities. Implementation of School-based mandatory physical training programs and nutritional standards program are indispensable in the efforts to prevent obesity. This coordinated approach is the key to promoting healthy life style modifications in our children who are the future of our country.
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