Youngsters pop pills to stay slim

Children as young as 12 years old are resorting to severe dieting

At least 25 per cent of Chandigarh youth, both boys and girls in the age group of 12 to 25-years, diet everyday to look slim, reveals a comprehensive six-month study undertaken by Assocham Social Development Foundation.

The study, conducted in 10 major cities in India, concluded in March this year. Around 2500 youth, girls and boys in equal numbers, were surveyed in Chandigarh, Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Lucknow.

The study revelations are alarming. It says kids as young as 12 years old are resorting to severe dieting, consuming protein shakes and fat burners in a bid to look slim and improve the way they look. This has led to serious eating disorders, it said. The tinsel town glamour and glitz is impacting young minds.

The Assocham study says youth are being “influenced by modern lifestyles together with ubiquitous show of a perfect 10 figure and airbrushed faces in advertisements and pictures of ramp models, sports and film celebrities featuring in newspapers and magazines”.

In Chandigarh, a much higher 35 per cent of youth said they diet at least three times in a week to look attractive and slim. The older among the youth, aged between 20 and 25, show greater fondness to this obsession. The study states that 40 per cent of youth in this age group resort to fasting every single day.

On expected lines, youngsters in Mumbai lead this trend. Around 55 per cent of them admitting to dieting over three days a week and 35 per cent admitting to following a daily diet plan. Next are youngsters in Delhi –NCR, followed by young boys girls in Chandigarh.

Assocham general secretary D S Rawat said youngsters are  increasingly using diet pills, fat burners, fasting, resorting to self-induced vomiting etc in order to stay slim and look attractive. “They do so with a hope to attain that ‘ideal body image’. Even kids are not off limits from the celebrity-driven trend of staying slim to look perfect and are dieting and starving themselves. All this is likely to have an adverse impact on young people, especially females”, he added.

Dr Sanjeev Trehan, a senior government medical officer in Haryana, talking to Deccan Herald said the trend needs to be plugged. “Nothing can substitute good nutritious diet and regular exercise. It’s the best way to reduce and maintain a slim healthy body. Crash dieting lead to nowhere, in fact cause physical and psychological problems,” Dr Trehan said. Majority of respondents admitted they were ignorant about the fact that it was affecting their growth.

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