When 8-year old Enakshi woke up at night with breathing problems, she was rushed to the nearest hospital. She was immediately put on oxygen and after a thorough check-up and a few tests, the doctor diagnosed her with a heart disease. She needed to go through a surgery. Her parents were shocked to learn this.
However, little Enakshi is not alone. It is time to wake up to the sad reality that lifestyle diseases among children that previously afflicted adults are increasing by leaps and bounds for various reasons. Especially in the metro cities of India, there are numerous cases of children suffering from critical health issues like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, heart ailments, and even cancer.
Wrong and stressful lifestyle, hectic schedules, extended periods of time in front of televisions, mobiles, and computers, social media addiction, insufficient exercise or the total lack of it, sleepless nights, skipping meals, munching fast foods, and downing soft drinks are some common culprits.
The scenario is quite alarming. According to data sourced by The Times of India from the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, around 5.74 percent to 8.82 percent of school children in India suffer from obesity. As per the journal, it is mainly due to the lack of physical activity, and frequent consumption of oily snacks, junk, and processed foods.
However, since lifestyle diseases among children are caused by flawed lifestyle habits, the process can be reversed and prevented by making some simple adjustments in the day-to-day life. Here are some of them.
Teach Your Children to Adopt a Healthy Diet
Todayâ€™s children and parents as well crave for processed foods, takeaway snacks, and junk foods. These often contain unhealthy ingredients such as high level of sodium and fat. Both fat and sodium have been clinically tested to be the prime factors for an array of lifestyle disorders among children, which lead to hypertension, high cholesterol, heart diseases, and depression. So, it is the responsibility of parents to teach their children the merits of healthy food, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Celebrity news sometimes help! Tell your children about the food habits of superstars like Virat Kohli and John Abraham, and they will quickly follow suit.
Keep Your Children Well Hydrated
Make sure your kids drink at least eight to ten glasses of plain water every day. Water flushes out harmful toxins from the body, and also helps to keep the metabolism rate high. Juices made out of fresh fruits are also fine, but they are not a substitute for water.
Regularly Check the Weight of Your Children
As seen in various studies, the root cause of most lifestyle disorders among children is excess weight or obesity. Therefore, it is important to routinely check the body mass index (BMI) of your children as per their age and height. If the BMI is on the higher side, it is an indication of obesity.
Physical Workout and Activities
Today, a gym is not the only option. There is a range of physical activities and workouts available, such as aerobics, Yoga, swimming, and many indoor sports, which are suitable for all genders and ages. Physical activity of any form not only helps develop a healthy body, it also frees the mind from stress and anxieties. Children living in gated communities are lucky because most of the apartment complexes these days have activity centres like badminton and tennis courts, swimming pools, and various other facilities.
Try to Find Same Age-Group Playmates for Your Children
Another advantage of living in an apartment complex is the availability of playmates. Growing up with children of the same age-group makes a child emotionally stronger and independent. Moreover, some gated communities also have art classes and study groups, where children can do their school work and engage with a variety of activities. These engagements create a sense of bonding and harmony, as well as decrease the chances of feeling isolated, bored, and depressed.
Adopting and integrating these simple changes into your childâ€™s everyday routine will keep them fit, energized, healthy, and away from the dangerous clutches of lifestyle diseases.