Burgers and Pizzas Take Their Toll
The Hindu
November 11, 2007

NEW DELHI: At a time when one in every five children studying in Delhi's schools is overweight or obese and thereby has 70 per cent chance of becoming an overweight or obese adult and thus more prone to diabetes, a new study by the Delhi Diabetes Research Centre on "changing food patterns in children" has revealed that junk food culture is rapidly on the rise among the children despite severe health risks.

According to DDRC Chairman Ashok Jhingan, the study was undertaken in eight private schools of Delhi and 1,155 children studying in Class III, IV and V were asked six questions about their eating habits. The questions were deliberately designed to properly assess the food habits, choice of food and factors contributing for this change in eating patterns.

The study threw up some startling facts. It revealed that 39 per cent of the children preferred eating burgers and soft drinks over traditional food.

Further, 31 per cent preferred to have a pizza along with a soft drink. Only an abysmal 11 per cent preferred eating fruits.

It was also revealed that the daily eating habits of the children were changing rapidly.

As many as 44 per cent of the children surveyed said they had at least one soft drink a day. Also it was revealed that along with age the preference for fast food increased. So while 11 per cent of the Class III children had a preference for fast food, as many as 39 per cent of Class IV wanted it and a whopping 66 per cent of Class V children preferred having junk food over the traditional nutritious one.

Health risk

The study also revealed that family members, media and environment played a key role in whetting this preference for fast food.

In view of the health risk fast foods pose, DDRC has stated that "intervention should be initiated from Class III onward and family, school authorities and media should create such an environment so that the children get inclined towards healthy food habits".

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