A R C H I V E S
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Food for thought|
|08/20/05 at 03:35:38|
|Food for thought |
Globally, 22million children under five are overweight. Regional studies in India peg obese children at 5 to 25 per cent, says Team Viva
The recent obesity epidemic arises from a number of factors including a dangerous food culture and poor consumer choices. Globally, according to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.7 billion adults are overweight and 300 million are obese. In the US alone, two-thirds of adults are overweight, 30 per cent of children are overweight or at risk, and over US$ 75 billion are spent on obesity-related health costs.
The growing prevalence of obesity extends virtually everywhere but is particularly striking in poor countries where, on the one hand, a large proportion of the population suffers from undernutrition (primarily due to poverty), contrasted with a growing segment of the population that is developing obesity. This dichotomy co-exists in India, and in the future the effects of obesity will cause an increasingly heavy financial and societal health burden.
The Indian National Family Health Survey found 14 per cent of Indian women were overweight or obese, in some urban areas, 25-35 per cent. Correlating factors affecting likelihood of being overweight or obese in India include income level, education level, urban locality, religion, and caste.
Children comprise one of the groups with the most rapid increase in incidence of over-nutrition. Globally, 22 million children under five are overweight. Comprehensive studies determining the number of overweight children in India are lacking, but regional studies in India have found rates from 5 to 25 per cent. Since overweight and obesity have such important health ramifications, the rapidly increasing rate of overweight youths should be a disturbing wake up call.
Causes of obesity
There are a number of reasons including, economic growth, extensive marketing and advertising (including towards children), and the globalisation of food markets. Fast food restaurants are some of the key troublemakers contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Fast food provides an excellent example of low-quality foods that are high-calorie, high-fat, and high in simple sugars while low in beneficial macro and micro-nutrients. For example, a McDonald's McChicken with a large fries provides over half the calories one should eat in a day and 2/3 the total allowed fat. Pre-packaged snack foods also are a major source of poor-quality, high-calorie foods. Sodas and concentrated fruit juices are a ubiquitous source of nutrient-poor and calorie-dense foods that are consumed by children.
Advertising targeted towards children is a very effective means to build brand name loyalty and thriving product sales.Unfortunately, much of the food targeted towards children, including in the vast majority of US schools, consists of highly unhealthy foodstuffs (fried foods, pizzas, sweet drinks, and sugary desserts).
Prevention and weight maintenance
Responsibility for good food intake lies both at the public policy and at the personal level. The role of public policy is to educate and to regulate in an attempt to maximise public well-being.
What you can do to prevent obesity in your children and your family:
* Breast feed your children exclusively for their first 4-6 months.
* Do not use food to reward your child (such as a dessert for finishing a meal).
* Limit saturated fats (replace them with beneficial fats and oils including nuts, unrefined oils, and/or fish).
* Sodas and flavoured fruit juices are major culprits for high calorie sugar intake with no valuable nutrients.
* Eliminate fast food (or at least minimise as much as possible).
* Provide whole grains (such as brown rice) instead of simple carbohydrates (such as white breads).
• Discourage extensive TV watching and other prolonged sedentary activities.
There is a good deal of misinformation about a healthy diet. Make sure your child is not getting their nutrition education from commercials and their peers.
Indian food industry: doing an about turn?
One thing that goes to India's credit is that it has made the biggest of international food players do a menu about turn. McDonald's burgers, that had otherwise remained the same worldwide, had to change to find favour with Indian consumers.
It is the indianised McDonald's offering of the McAloo Tikki burger that is one of the highest selling McDonald's products in India. India is the only country where McDonald's does not serve any pork or beef food item.
There is also a whole range of vegetarian products available. For the first time McDonald's also developed an eggless mayonnaise and the desserts served here are eggless too. Food brands like Nestle Maggi noodles are also jumping onto the 'health' bandwagon. Nestle has recently launched 'atta noodles' with the catchline "taste bhi, health bhi'. This, after people realised that maida noodles were not the right choice nutritionally, especially for children, at whom it is targeted.
Courtesy: Consumer Voice
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