Childhood obesity has tripled in the recent past resulting in negative, long term and short term outcomes. This obesity epidemic has led to early development of non communicable diseases, once described as old age diseases. Health officials are now seeing more young people afflicted with heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, skeletal joint pains, due to excess body fat which puts an increased weight load on the joints. Besides these physical outcomes, overweight children have to face ridicule from their peers leading to depression “The alarming fact is that for the first time in human history the current generation will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents!”, warns a leading Diabetes expert and Endocrinologist, Dr Noel Somasundaram of the National Hospital, Sri Lanka.
In his interview with the Sunday Observer, he tells us how childhood obesity starts, how it develops, the importance of exclusive breast feeding for the first six months, and careful choice of weaning foods thereafter. He also tells us how this dangerous trend can be reversed and prevented- by eating well balanced diets and taking plenty of exercise in place of the preferred junk foods and sedentary lifestyles which most young children indulge in.