COVID effect; kids gaining weight due to sedentary lifestyle: Study

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Dr Sudhir Kalhan

Rohit Shishodia

A pan-India study conducted by Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Association with Institute of Child Health of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) has revealed that more than 60% of children, who were forced to sit during COVID-19 have gained 10% weight more than 10% of their baseline weight.

The survey was conducted among 1509 children to quantify the magnitude of rising obesity during this ongoing pandemic.

The children attributed it to the sedentary lifestyle along with the easy availability of fast food. Eating disorders were also due to the stress and abnormal sleep cycles.

 The survey was conducted between children of five and fifteen years of age in different parts of the country.

Dr Sudhir Kalhan, Chairman, Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, SGRH, Delhi, said, “We did a survey among 1309 children who were forced to sit at home during the recent COVID crisis from October 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021. We found a shocking response as there was an approximately 10% weight gain among 60% of the respondents i.e. 785 children.”

Dr. Kalhan, added, “Majority of 36.8% of the respondent reported sedentary life as a major cause of weight gain whereas 27.55% reported sleeping late as a triggering factor and 22.4% reported overeating as cause of weight gain factor.”

According to the hospital statement, these are troubled times. People in these last two years have been rattled by the far reaching impact of this ongoing pandemic on our day to day life and health.

Never before have they been so scared, so uncertain and so jittery. It was like a war for which they were not prepared.

The war this time was not fought on the borders but happened in homes, neighborhoods and on the streets. It so blatantly exposed health care shortcomings and lack of focus on the medical sector.

The hospital said that people were dying in the streets, in their cars, at home and we in the health care sector were left exasperated and helpless.

“Never could we have imagined that in this modern era people could die due to lack of oxygen. But it happened and we couldn’t do anything as we had not anticipated it,” the hospital said.

The multitude of respiratory complications, the secondary infections like mucormycosis and the uncontrolled diabetes are still causing havoc in the society.

“We were caught unaware and the enemy hit us hard and continues to do so. While we continue to bravely fight these challenges we are failing badly and neglecting a very important section of our society,” it added.

“Our children, who we all forgot to care for in this whole confused state. With no schools, no physical activity, lots of uncertainty, deaths around them, abnormal sleep cycles they are now having many physical, behavioral and lifestyle disorders which need our immediate attention and action,” the hospital explained.

“India is a young country with more than 60 % of the population being less than 35 years. This is our strength as we have a great future. With near 8% GDP growth we seem to be rocking as a country,” the hospital said.  

“But what if this young population were to become diabetic, have mental disorders or become hypertensive. All the economic growth would have to be diverted towards public health spending,” it added.



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