Lack of sleep can affect eating and weight in children

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

Parents should set an example for children by following a healthy lifestyle

New Delhi, 27 January 2018: As per a recent study, poor quality of sleep in a child can affect his/her eating habits and weight. Over time, this can also lead to childhood obesity, which can further put them at a greater risk of developing obesity-related cancers in adulthood. As per the study, shorter sleep duration, measured in hours, was associated with a higher BMI z-score (body mass index adjusted for age and sex). Each extra hour of sleep was associated with 0.13 reduction in BMI z-score and reduction in waist circumference of 1.29 cm.

Statistics indicate that India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China. About 14.4 million kids in the country have excess weight. Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child’s health or well-being. As methods to determine body fat directly are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on BMI. The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing in India and is being recognized as a serious public health concern. Unhealthy diet (eating foods high in fats, sugar and salt -junk food, processed food) and a sedentary lifestyle contribute significantly to this escalating epidemic. Also, TV, internet, computer and mobile games have taken precedence over outdoor sports with children becoming more sedentary. Childhood obesity is well-recognized as a precursor to obesity in adulthood. Most obese children grow up to be obese adults.”

Obese children and adolescents are more prone to bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Habits such as eating healthy and engaging in regular physical activity must be inculcated right from a young age. Parents should serve as role models for their children and set the right example by following a healthy lifestyle themselves. Schools can help in shaping the lives of students and have a very important role to play in the battle against childhood obesity. Healthy habits in childhood lay a foundation for a healthier adulthood.”

Here are some tips that parents can follow at home to tackle obesity and overweight in children.

  • Encourage healthy eating habits even at a very young age.
  • Try making favorite dishes healthier. Few changes can make even snacks healthier.
  • Avoid tempting children with calorie-rich food. It is okay to treat them but in moderation and by limiting high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks.
  • Make kids understand the importance of being physically active.
  • Lead by example. Indulge in at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day.
  • Reduce sedentary time. While reading is a good option, too much of screen time is not. Make regular sleep time and good sleep a priority.
  • Replace screen time with the outdoors and fun activities to keep children engaged.

Homeopaths will they risk practicing modern medicine?

Health Care, Medicine Comments Off

The first batch of homeopaths who pursued a year-long certificate course in modern pharmacology is set to pass out from the states medical colleges this year, reported Swatee Kher in TOI Pune on January 23, 2018. The story quotes the instance of a homeopath, who has been practicing homeopathy for almost 25 years and studied for the certificate course in the last year.

The Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), Nashik, which was authorized to conduct the course through affiliated colleges, had stated in the information brochure that after acquiring this qualification, homeopathic practitioners will be allowed to use modern medicine in their practice to a limited extent. The one-year course was open to graduates and diploma holders in homeopathy registered with Maharashtra Council of Homeopathy, stated the public relations section of the MUHS in an email response.

The state government had approved the course in 2014, but the decision was challenged in the Bombay high court by the Indian Medical Association. The final court order in the matter is awaited. “Maharashtra is the only state that is offering this course. The first batch has just appeared for the final examination and successful candidates will be able to practice in Maharashtra only,” said Ajit Funde, president, Maharashtra Council of Homeopathy.

During MBBS, the subject of pharmacology is taught in the 2nd Prof, where students learn the basics about various drugs, their mechanisms of action, indications and contraindications of use, adverse effects, interactions among other aspects of drug administration. They are also taught how to write a prescription… though only in a classroom at this point of time. Pharmacology is also an applied science.

During the 3rd Prof, students start to learn the application of principles of pharmacology in the ‘real world’ in patients.

But, a student who has cleared his MBBS is still not allowed to independently write a prescription. He has to wait to complete his internship before he is allowed to write a prescription for a patient.

Except for tincture homeopathy, the principles of homeopathy are very different from those of  modern system of medicine. A homeopath cannot learn everything about modern drugs in a certificate course.

Courses such as this and the ‘bridging course’ as proposed in the NMC Bill, 2017 will only produce half-baked doctors and it will be the patients, who would be the ultimate losers.

Such courses would promote irrational prescribing of drugs, which may cause adverse drug reactions, result in health hazards, most notable being antimicrobial resistance, a major public health problem globally.

The rational use of medicines as described by the WHO is “patients receive medicines appropriate to their clinical needs, in doses that meet their own individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and the community”.  Anything contrary to these principles would mean an irrational use of medicine/s.

Irrational prescribing may be of five types: under-prescribing, over-prescribing, incorrect prescribing, extravagant prescribing and multiple prescribing (Pharmacy (Basel). 2016 Dec;4(4):35).

Similarly, off-label use of drugs should be done very carefully and not without the approval of the Ethics Committee. Where will be the check on such practices?

Another likely outcome of such courses would be that homeopaths and other Ayush doctors would have dual registration. Which council will address mistakes? Who decides accountability in case of mishaps or negligence?

Lastly,  the exercise will harm homeopathy as a science. It will abolish over a period of time with the message going that homeopaths cannot  even treat minor ailments.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA