Childhood Obesity Epidemic - SPARSH Hospital

Published in : Women & Children | March 6, 2023 |

Childhood and adolescent obesity – Emerging Global Epidemic

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The high level of overweight and obesity in children and young people is an area of particular concern. If we fail to act on overweight and obesity in children soon, this issue threatens to have a highly negative impact on health and quality of life and may overwhelm our healthcare systems in the near future. Today ( March 4th ) is celebrated as world obesity day to create awareness on this global epidemic with vast metabolic consequences.


  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, with 62% in developing country
  • In three decades, adolescents with obesity 10 fold increase from 11 million to 124 million overweight
  • In 2020, 158 million children aged 5-19 years living with obesity
  • With 14.4 million obese children, India has the second-highest number of obese children in the world, next to China.
  • The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children varies 15%to 25%

Causes of overweight/Obesity

Changes in the lifestyle are thought to be responsible for the increase in overweight and obesity seen across age groups. One influential factor is the eating patterns: what, how much and where we eat. Young people in India now consume more fast-food and substantial amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages, eat outside the home more frequently and spend less time eating family meals. Prepared and processed foods are more accessible than ever before and in larger portion sizes Watching television and spending time on computers or gaming systems are now popular past times for children. “Screen time” or “being sedentary” are now recognised as independent risk factors for obesity. Lack of physical activity- Pressure for academic performance have led to less time for physical education in schools, Perception of poor neighbourhood safety and increased screen time are other contributing factors Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in a drastic increase in childhood obesity due to online classes, sedentary lifestyle, increased food intake

Is your child overweight or obese?

Obesity is defined as a condition of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue, to the extent that health may be impaired. Body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight measurements to estimate a person’s body fat. It can be plotted on a standard BMI chart.
Weight for length as per WHO sex specific charts (<2years) OVERWEIGHT OBESE >/= 97th percentile EXTREMELY OBESE
BMI percentiles as per revised CDC charts (2- 20years) >/=85th to <95th >/=95th >/=120% of 95th or >/= 35kg/m2
BMI as per IAP BMI charts (5- 18years) >/=23 adult equivalent percentile: Boys-71st Girls-75th >/=27 adult equivalent percentile: Boys-90th Girls-95th

What are the effects of Obesity?

Overweight and obese kids are at risk for developing medical problems that affect their present and future health and quality of life, including:
  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol and abnormal blood lipid levels, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes
  • bone and joint problems
  • shortness of breath that makes exercise, sports, or any physical activity more difficult and may aggravate the symptoms or increase the chances of developing asthma
  • restless or disordered sleep patterns, such as obstructive sleep apnea • tendency to mature earlier (overweight girls may have irregular menstrual cycles and fertility problems in adulthood)
  • liver and gall bladder disease
  • depression
Cardiovascular risk factors present in childhood (including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes) can lead to serious medical problems like heart disease, heart failure, and stroke as adults. Preventing or treating overweight and obesity in kids may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as they get older.


How to prevent children from becoming overweight or obese?

  • Nutrition education
  • Family meals
  • Avoiding food as Rewards
  • Limiting junk food and processed food
  • Reading Food Labels
  • Individualised meal program
  • Behavioural therapy
  • Self-monitoring
  • Stimulus control
  • Slower eating
  • Clear goal setting
  • Stress reduction
  • Reduced screen time
  • Increased physical activity
  • Good sleep

How do you manage obesity?

Prevention is the BEST, but the following treatment modalities can be used-
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Family based programmes- structured multidisciplinary counselling ➢ Diet counselling, Diet chart
  • Physical activity
  • Screen time
  • E technologies
  • Pharmacological intervention
  • Bariatric Surgery
Mange Obacity

Obesity clinic in SPARSH Hospital

Why do we need an obesity clinic?

  • Need of the hour
  • Emerging global epidemic
  • Prevention is key
  • Prevention of complications of obesity
  • Pharmacological management of obesity and its complication Lifestyle management- family based counselling

Our Obesity clinic is a multi-disciplinary team consisting of:

  • Paediatric Endocrinologist -Dr. Tejasvi Sheshadri
  • Dietician-Diet counselling by the team
  • 24/7 Lab services- Packages for Obesity comorbidity screening
  • Trained nursing staff


Dr Tejasvi Sheshadri

Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist

9 Mins Read

Categories: Women & Children

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