One in 10 school going children between the age of 13-16 yrs are overweight which increases risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) by over 35%, according to a recent survey conducted by ASSOCHAM Social Development foundation on the occasion of ‘World Heart day’ on 29 September.

The survey was conducted in 25 private and public school in Delhi and the National Capital Region among 3,000 children. Many children develop lifestyle diseases, due to this drastic change in lifestyle and eating habits is the need of hour to tackle the alarming situation, reveals the ASSOCHAM paper.

As per a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the cardiovascular diseases (CVD) would be the largest cause of death and disability in India by 2020. “The average age of people with heart ailments is coming down from 50 to 20 years”, reveals ahead of World Heart Day, Sep 29.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle in early life is clearly essential for avoiding disease later on. “High blood pressure and high levels of fat in the blood are dangerous. Eating healthy food and being active are a must for children”, said Dr. B K Rao, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Health Committee. “The unhealthy lifestyles even in very young children can increase their risk of future heart disease”, indicates Dr. Rao.

As per the ASSOCHAM health committee, the patients under the age of 40 have increased from 10% a decade ago to 35-40 percent today. Risk of CVD is highest (38%) in obese young adults with risk factors and lowest (8%) in those with normal weight and no risk factors.

According to ASSOCHAM paper, schools also agreed that the eating habits of children need urgent attention as cases of obesity and cardio-vascular diseases at an early age are rising.

Consuming nutritious food and adopting a healthy lifestyle will enable students to grow and develop to their optimum potential, leading to improved educational performance.

“Healthy food needs to be considered normal not boring. Getting rid of packaged foods is a great thing to do health-wise and environmentally. Parents need to remember that kids consume 30 per cent of their daily kilojoules at school so they should be carefully monitoring what is put in the lunch box or ordered from the canteen,” added Dr. Rao.

About 78 per cent parents liked their children to carry home-cooked food to school on all six days, though 35 per cent of them also give Rs.40-100 to their children to buy canteen food, adds the survey.

Also, around 51 per cent children spend Rs.30-50 every day at the canteen with pasta and noodles selling the most, 45 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

The recent findings of the ASSOCHAM, nearly 1 in 10 school aged children in the metros are either overweight or obese.
People who are obese are far more likely to report being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or to have had a heart attack.

The survey also reports that:

18.3% of young Indian are obese, compared to 27.6% between ages 30-44 and 30.6% among 45- to 64-year-olds. Of people 65 and over, 24.2% are obese.
Men are more likely than women to be obese, 27.8% compared to 25.2%.