The busy lifestyle of working parents is having a toll on the health of the children of the country according to Delhi Diabetes Research Centre.
Fast and junk food are the most favoured food by children who are allowed to spend their pocket money in these joints rather than have a decent cooked lunch. A weekend visit to a food-joint is the order of the day for most middle class families in India.
The excess saturated fat in fast foods is resulting in an increase in the incidence of obesity among the children.
Chairperson of the Delhi Diabetes Research Centre, Ashok Jhingan said, "It's a very serious condition as obesity can lead to diabetes, heart disease and early heart attacks, many teenage girls are already suffering from diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition that occurs in overweight females and disrupts menstruation, and other children have hypertension."
Director of the Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases at Fortis hospital, New Delhi; Anoop Misra said, "India's economic liberalization in the early 1990s has brought a lot of western ways of living which we did not have before."
"This includes the mushrooming of fast food restaurants and increased availability of snacks like crisps and chocolates which have increased the carbohydrate and fat intake of children."
India's 300 million-strong middle-class is prone to developing obesity much earlier in life. Developing countries like India and China are now joining the race that has so far been led by the western countries.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) , New Delhi conducted a survey on children of age 14 to 18 and reported 17% of 2000 of them were obese or on the overweight side. Globally, 15 percent children are in similar condition.
India is the Diabetes capital having 20% of the diabetics of the world that comes up to 37 million cases. WHO predicts by 2030 India will have 80 million diabetics (globally it would increase to 366 million). Obesity is considered the major reason of developing Type II Diabetes.
Joe Curian, owner of Mumbai's S.L. Raheja Hospital said, "Diabetes was once considered a disease of older people but now we are seeing younger and younger people coming into the hospital with diabetes."
"We've had 14-year-old children coming in with (type II) diabetes," he added, concluding that they might have genetic predisposition.
Diabetes can lead to damage to the eye, kidney, heart, blood vessels and nerves.