Obesity rising among children in India

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/28/2021 1:51:46 PM Health and Lifestyle

Jammu, Nov 28: There has been a rise in obesity among children under five years of age with 33 states and Union Territories registering a spike in the number of overweight children, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
Experts attributed the increase in obesity to lack of physical activity and unhealthy food habits.
The number of overweight children increased from 2.1 per cent in NFHS-4 to 3.4 per cent in NFHS-5.
Not just children, obesity among women and men also increased. The percentage of overweight women rose from 20.6 per cent to 24 per cent while in men the number increased from 18.9 per cent to 22.9 per cent, according to the NFHS-5.
According to the NFHS-5, several states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mizoram, Tripura, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Ladakh, have registered increase in the percentage of obesity among children below five years of age in comparison to NFHS-4 conducted between 2015 and 2016.
Only Goa, Tamil Nadu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu registered a drop in the number of overweight children under five years of age, the data showed.
Healthcare experts have attributed the rise in obesity to unhealthy food choices and lack of physical activity among children and even adults.
Dr Antaryami Dash, Head, Nutrition, Save the Children, India, said every nation is entering into a situation with double burden of malnutrition where there is a co-existence of undernutrition (stunting/wasting/underweight) and overnutrition (overweight/ obesity) at the population level. The prevalence is highest in western and industrialised countries, but gradually catching up in developing countries.
He said although cost-effective interventions such as WHO's 'best buys' have been identified, political will and implementation have so far been limited.
There is a need for effective programmes and policies in multiple sectors to address overnutrition, undernutrition, mobility and physical activity.

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