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Obesity in Delhi school children on the rise

According to a new study, there is an increase in the percentage of obese kids in the Capital. Dr Anoop Misra, director and head, department of diabetes// and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospital and WHO expert in childhood obesity and his team conducted the study. Their findings revealed a drastic increase in the percentage of childhood obesity. It is 28% in 2006 while it was 16-18% in 2004.

Students from government and public schools in Delhi were screened from November 2005 in this study called Medical Education for children/adolescents for realistic Prevention of Obesity and Diabetes for Healthy Ageing (MARG: the Path). 26% of the kids aged 14-17 years had Syndrome X that is caused by obesity and is a precursor to diabetes. Totally, 1,168 students from 15 schools were screened.

'Obesity is the major cause for other problems. Nearly 50-70 per cent of the children will become obese adults and would suffer from diabetes, stroke, liver diseases, infertility, hypertension, arthritis and cancer. These children who have been found to be obese also have a high risk for development of early heart diseases since 13-25 per cent of them showed high levels of C-reactive protein. 40-50 per cent had increased triglycerides (blood fat) levels and 30-70 per cent had low HDL (good cholesterol) levels,' said Dr Rekha Sharma, co-investigator and former chief dietician, AIIMS.

In the screening, it was found that the level of obesity was higher in public school students than the government school students. '28 per cent of urban children have Syndrome X, one step away from diabetes and two steps away from heart disease. Junk food aggravates the problem,' said Dr. Sharma.

The World Diabetes Foundation based in Denmark is supporting the Diabetes Foundation of India to carry out further study in the three cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur due to rise in health risk caused by obesity.

'Under this programme over 50,000 schoolchildr en will be educated on good nutrition and balanced diet, while 120 students and 60 physical instructors will be trained as volunteers to continue the programme,' said Anil Kapur, Managing Director of the World Diabetes Foundation.

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