Caught by the lifestyle

Caught by the lifestyle

Young health

Caught by the lifestyle

Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it,” said Josh Billings.

This is indeed true as health is increasingly becoming a matter of great concern, not just among the elderly and the middle-aged, but also among children and adolescents. With fast-food joints mushrooming by the day and unhealthy food becoming available everywhere, cases of lifestyle diseases have increased tremendously.

Dr Aashish R Shah, director of laparoscopic and bariatric surgery, Fortis Hospitals, observes that obesity related health issues are now common from the age of 10.
“We have seen an increasing rise in health conditions like borderline hypertension, diabetes and even high cholesterol levels.

These are ailments people used to worry about in their fourth decade of life. The changing sedentary lifestyle has a lot to do with this,” details Dr Aashish.

He adds that the habit of eating refined food is contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle. “Around 10 to 15% of the problems among the youth are related to obesity. It is sad to see that even something like climbing stairs is becoming an issue for teenagers now,” he says.

There is a great need to encourage extra-curricular activities and sports among the younger lot. “Also, homemade food should be preferred for consumption as all foods available outside include additives to make them taste better,” he says.

The need of the hour is for parents to be aware of and strict about what to eat and what to avoid. Dr Rajaram, a general physician with a clinic in Sanjaynagar, says that parents need to set good examples for kids to follow. “The increasing number of bronchial ailments and obesity related concerns among children and pre-adolescents is a matter of deep concern. Parents need to be firm yet understanding about the concept of healthy living,” he says.

He suggests that consulting a doctor for one’s children can also lead to a healthy discussion, which will help educate the parent and the child about what to consume and what not to.

 But parents say that since junk food is an integral part of one’s being now, avoiding it entirely is close to impossible. Mothers like Sushma R say that she allows her twins, Poorvi and Poorabh, a ‘cheat day’ when they can order what they want to eat. “The condition is that they stick to a balanced diet on the other days. Lecturing them about foods they should avoid doesn’t help at all.” She adds that the children now look forward to the ‘cheat day’ and eat right throughout the week.

“It’s alright to let them indulge once in a while, else they will end up with cravings and will overeat when they see something they like,” she adds. 

Remember seeing commercials on television where children are also seen cooking with their parents? Melody Lopez, an IT professional, says that she encourages her seven-year-old daughter, Miracle, to accompany her when she is shopping and cooking. “This can be an interesting experience for both the parents and the children. While I cook, I explain to her the goodness of each vegetable as well as the herbs and spices that I use, so that she knows what is going inside her body.”

The saying ‘If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it’ is something Melody strictly goes
by. “When we shop, I ask her to check out the nutritional value of any packaged
item that she wishes to indulge in. We then have a light chat about how chemicals which cannot be understood are not good for one,” she adds.

High cholesterol foods and fast-foods are a strict no. “I encourage her to indulge in more outdoor activities which, in turn, help her stay fit. Also if she wants to indulge in something sweet, we bake a banana cake together, which is healthier than something bought from outside,” says Melody.

With one’s fast-paced lifestyle and a number of food-ordering applications becoming available, young professionals who often find it difficult to balance schedules, resort to ordering in these days. “Though everything is available at the push of a button, it is best to stick to a diet comprising homemade food. It is not really difficult to prepare food we have grown up with. Be it ‘ragi’ or rice, eating one’s regional food is best for a healthy being,” says Lekha L, a businesswoman.

She adds that she also lets her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Mahi, experience other foods to understand that they are not good for her health.

“When she has an ice cream or something else from outside and gets a cold or an upset stomach, I explain to her about how food from elsewhere can affect one’s health. So now she trusts me with food and understands that not everything colourful is good enough for consumption,” says Lekha.

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