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Children Suffer From Diabetes and Heart Diseases
The food habits of today;s children is responsible for their poor health.
Lately, there has been an alarming increase in the number of young people getting heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. By the year 2010 it is projected that India will have the largest number of diabetics in the world. Almost one fourth of the children (age 8-19) have excess abdominal fat and syndrome X (factors which tell us if a person has an increased risk for getting early heart disease and diabetes).

While all this is certainly dramatic, the solution to the problem lies in your kitchen. Most modern day illnesses are diet-related disorders. When it comes to fighting degenerative diseases, nutrition should be a large part of the treatment. When you eat incorrectly and do not injest enough 'live food' rich in vitamins & enzymes, your vital body functions get affected. Successful treatment results from replenishing the supply of these nutrients through diet & food supplements.

Children and fast food
Children are the number one fast food consumers today. Junk food now constitutes more than 35 per cent of the average child's diet.

Most fast food is made from sugar, refined flour and hydrogenated fats. This contributes to our toxicity. As the body gets chemicalised, imbalances are created which lead to disease conditions like high triglycerides, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, obesity and hair loss later in life. Imbalances in childhood result in hyperactivity and undernourishment both of which may lead to poor academic performance.

Beware of central obesity
Some experts feel that waist circumference is a more accurate indicator of risk to heart disease and diabetes than just body weight. Men are said to be at risk if they have a waist circumference more than 40 inches and women with waist circumference more than 35 inches.

Advice to young mothers
Most children who don't like eating vegetables usually like 'raw vegetables' more than cooked ones. So it is wise to keep raw vegetables handy. You can also serve your child lightly sauted and crunchy vegetables at meal times.

Parents may find that their children snack too much on junk and aren't hungry at meal time. Therefore parents must teach their child how to snack rather than not to snack. Keep snacks like roasted channas, alsi seeds (powdered), whole fruits, boiled black channas, almonds, peanuts, whole wheat biscuits and khakras, soya nuts at home.

Dietary guidelines
Encourage your child to go for brown rice.
Add wheat bran to chappatis, eat whole wheat bread and make jowar & bajri rotis regularly.
Make sprouts frequently at home as an in-between snack food.
Do not make or buy anything containing maida and sugar.
Switch to MUFA based oils like Rice bran oil, olive oil, mustard oil, til oil.
Encourage your child to exercise regularly. Exercise wards off heart disease and when coupled with diet therapy, it becomes truly effective.

Each child is unique and has specific nutrient requirements based on age, physical activity, body type and family history. Therefore his food plan should be customised to his requirement. Nutrition education is critical to supporting the health of your growing child and preventing medical disasters later in life.
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Posted on : 19/12/2005
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