Cross posted on
With problems like obesity, diabetes, and other chronic ailments affecting children, it is high time we started giving diet, and eating habits that extra attention. I mean even in schools a proper effort should be made to drive children into knowing more about health foods, and a diet which is nutritionally complete. Gone are the days when ma’s and grandma’s added that extra sugar, into the child’s daily ‘dose’ of milk, or gave salt to have with fruits etc., to make it tastier or edible to the child. These are habit forming and they stay on life long, creating problems later on in life. In fact one does not have to wait to get to their thirties or forties to experience severe ill health. It starts much early on in life nowadays and that is the reason why we must stress on diet foods for children also. Tubby girls and boys with paunches is a common sight. Why? Are they lacking in enough exercise or is it that they are not aware of the right kinds of foods. There are too many temptations in the market too to blame young children. What with cokes, chips, sweets of all varieties, junk food, and foods with preservatives hitting the market stands making it difficult for the child to resist.

As a teacher I take any given opportunity to speak on this issue with the children. Many bring money to schools to eat the savories (read junk food) from the canteen. Mothers also take their mornings easy as all they have to do is give the child money for the lunch break, rather than cooking some nutritious mid-day snack, which is wholesome as well as healthy. Canteens cater to the children’s tastes and sell what sells. Isn’t it high time that we incorporate talks on good diets and the ill-effects of a bad one? Actually maintaining a follow up? If from an early age children are conscious about health foods, the right habits shall be formed, which we realize are so important .at a later stage when metabolism is slower and whatever we eat takes double the time to digest.

Doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, health freaks all are doing their bit to impart knowledge to the masses about avoiding junk food. Inculcating a taste for a healthy diet should start when small; it goes a long way in shaping healthful attitudes. Schools should participate in health programs, Canteens should do away with fatty foods, soft drinks, chips, and too much fried foods.

It could be taught how fats can block arteries, in the science class, in the Maths class, one could teach children to count the calories of the foods they eat and determine how much they need to cut down or add. Outdoor activities should be packed with a lot of physical activity. Stress on exercise should be given. After all a healthy body houses a healthy mind. Schools benefit from happy healthy children.

I received a mail the other day which I felt should be shared with all parents and children. In fact I recollect an elog a parent had written here in this forum, sharing the problems we could face with drinking cokes or any soft drinks. This could be considered as a continuation of that.

Chat with Dr. Devi Shetty - Narayana Hrudayalaya Heart Specialist
> Dr. Devi Shetty:
> Qn: What are the five thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
> Ans: 1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
> 2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid
> lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
> 3. Quit smoking
> 4. Control weight
> 5. Control blood pressure and sugar
> Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
> Ans: No
> Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person
> gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
> Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past
> the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
> Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
> Ans: Yes
> Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do
> you suggest to de-stress?
> Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in
> everything in life.
> Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required
> to keep a healthy heart?
> Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue
> and injury to joints
> Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you
> to do so?
> Ans: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.
> Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
> Ans: Extremely rare
> Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I'm currently
> only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30
> years of age?
> Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
> Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?
> Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your
> body's enzyme release for digestion gets
> confused.
> Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
> Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
> Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
> Ans: Yoga helps.
> Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
> Ans: Best food is fruits worst are oil.
> Qn: Which oil is better - gingili, groundnut, sunflower, saffola, olive?
> Ans: All oils are bad; the so-called best oil company has the largest
> marketing budget.
> Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any
> specific test?
> Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP,
> Treadmill test after an echo.
> Qn: How different was it in treating Noor Fatima, the little kid from
> Pakistan?
> Ans: It was extremely difficult, Because of the media attention. As far
> as the medical treatment is concerned, she is like any other child with a
> complex heart problem.
> Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
> Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position, put an aspirin tablet
> under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if
> available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum
> casualty takes place within the first hour.
> Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and
> that caused due to gastric trouble?
> Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.
> Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst
> youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks
> and serious heart problems.
> Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, edentary
> lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where
> people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than
> Europeans and Americans.
> Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of
> 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
> Ans: Yes.
> Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the
> child. Is it true?
> Ans: Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not
> have a software engineer as a child
> Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have
> to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What
> precautions would you recommend?
> Ans: When you are young, nature protects you against all these
> irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.
> Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications
> (short / long term)?
> Ans: Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern
> anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
> Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
> Ans: No.
> Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
> Ans: No.
> Qn: How would you define junk food?
> Ans: Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, samosas, and even masala dosas.
> Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is
> the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk
> food?
> Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians
> are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.
> Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
> Ans: No.
> Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot
> of forwarded emails on this)?
> Ans: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any
> description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest
> coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance
> since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.
> Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead
> to heart problems?
> Ans: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your
> exercise capacity.
> Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise.
> So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs
> in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
> Ans: Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and
> even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and
> sitting helps a lot.
> Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
> Ans: Yes. Strong relationships since diabetics are more vulnerable to
> heart attacks than non-diabetics.
> Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart
> operation?
> Ans: Diet, exercise, drugs on time. Control cholesterol, BP, weight.
> Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease
> when compared to day shift workers?
> Ans: No.
> Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
> Ans: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right
> combination for your problem, but my
> suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of
> controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to
> reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.
> Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart
> attacks?
> Ans: No.
> Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
> Ans: Nature protects women till the age of 45.
> Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
> Ans: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke
> and, go for a health checkup if you
> are past the age of 30 for at least once in two yrs. And work very
> hard and Enjoy your Life...
> Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were
> to success when they gave up

Views: 34

Tags: canteen, diet, food, good, health, nutritious, programs, school, |

Comment by Shuchi Grover on May 5, 2008 at 6:30pm
Very useful tips from Dr. Devi Shetty - for teachers, parents and children. This is an important topic for discussion in schools and classrooms today...Just saw an item on the news about children in India suffering from hyper-tension related to stress and eating lifestyles! (kids in their teens or even younger)!


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