Indian Journal of Medical Research

: 2016  |  Volume : 143  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 373-

Wiser to prevent childhood obesity

Pravin Rathi, Sunil Pawar, Qais Contractor 
 Department of Gastroenterology, Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai 400 008, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Sunil Pawar
Department of Gastroenterology, Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai 400 008, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Rathi P, Pawar S, Contractor Q. Wiser to prevent childhood obesity.Indian J Med Res 2016;143:373-373

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Rathi P, Pawar S, Contractor Q. Wiser to prevent childhood obesity. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Aug 7 ];143:373-373
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We read with interest the article on prevalence of generalized and abdominal obesity in urban and rural India by Pradeepa et al1 Such an elaborate study is necessary for planning of health programmes for not only obesity but also for the non-communicable diseases. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed expected and already proven variables in obesity. It would have been more useful for the comprehensive programmatic management of obesity and related disorders if childhood obesity was also included. The prevalence of generalized obesity in the study was 24.6 and 16.6 per cent in Tamil nadu and Maharashtra, respectively. It is now a well-known fact that those children who are obese in early age are likely to be obese in adulthood2. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in paediatric population in Chennai, Tamil nadu in private schools was 26.4 per cent and in government schools was 4.6 per cent[3]. A recent study from four schools (2 government and 2 private) in Mumbai by our institution showed prevalence of overweight and obesity of 25.3 per cent[4]. The calorie mismatch is the cause of all obesity and one of the underlying factors is psychological behaviour for excessive or frequent eating in childhood. It is necessary to establish the importance of this behaviour and intercept it if possible to prevent obesity, as therapeutic interventions in adulthood have not been optimized. Also other causes of obesity, in adults like alcohol consumption and detailed dietary habits would have been studied.

We screened 100 overweight and obese students from one school for non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in Mumbai. The prevalence of NAFLD in this study was 62 per cent (unpublished data). In a study by Feldstein et al[5], when children with NAFLD were followed for 20 years, well into their adulthood, liver disease showed progression to cirrhosis. This fact reiterates the importance of childhood obesity. When body mass index (BMI) was studied longitudinally in children, it reached the lowest limit in the age group of 4 to 7 yr and increased progressively thereafter. This phenomenon has been referred to as BMI rebound. The early BMI rebound is associated not only with future glucose intolerance but also BMI at age of 7 or 8 yr is a predictor of adult obesity[6].

If such a behaviour is confirmed in the Indian subcontinent, then targeting this age group could have an impact on the prevalence of adult obesity.


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2Freedman DS, Kettel L, Serdula MK, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. The relation of childhood BMI to adult adiposity: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics 2005; 115 : 22-7.
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4Pawar SV, Choksey AS, Jain SS, Surude RG, Rathi PM. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in 4 schools of south Mumbai. J Clin Diagn Res 2016; 10 : OC01-OC02.
5Feldstein AE, Charatcharoenwitthaya P, Treeprasertsuk S, Benson JT, Enders FB, Angulo P. The natural history of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children: a follow-up study for up to 20 years. Gut 2009; 58 : 1538-44.
6Bhargava SK, Sachdev AS, Fall CH, Osmond C, Lakshmy R, Barker DJ, et al. Relation of serial changes in childhood body-mass index to impaired glucose tolerance in young adulthood. N Engl J Med 2004; 350 : 865-75.