Majority of Delhi high school children are at a risk for NAFLD

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A survey conducted recently among high school students in Delhi has found that over one-fifth of them have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). One of the primary reasons for this is the increased consumption of junk food and little to no physical activity. There is a need to create awareness on the fact that a high waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio are markers for children at risk of acquiring this condition.

NAFLD is the inflammation of the liver because of excessive fat deposits. It can lead to scarring of the liver, cirrhosis and eventually liver failure. The damage it does is akin to that caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “Lifestyle diseases are majorly on the rise in children today. This is an alarming situation as they are exposed to unhealthy habits right at that young age, including eating junk and lack of exercise. No medicine can cause NAFLD and there may be no signs of this condition becoming worse. It is a challenge treating children as at their age, they are bound to be influenced by their immediate environment, which starts right at home. Parents and guardians need to lead by example as this is the first step to resolving the issue.”

In non-obese children, a warning sign to watch out for is excessive central fat in the waist and abdominal region.This central obesity is often associated with ectopic fat deposits (storage of triglycerides in tissues other than adipose that is meant to store fat) in the liver.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “The good news is that NAFLD can be reversed through lifestyle changes in the early stages. Children should be given a balanced diet and home-cooked food. All sources of empty calories such as chocolates and biscuits should be omitted from the diet. Apart from this, it is also imperative to make exercise a priority rather than an option.”

The 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018 to be organized in October this year will focus on some of these aspects concerning children. It also happens to be the silver jubilee year of the mela.

Some tips from HCFI.

  • Eat a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
  • If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • There are reports to indicate that cinnamon (dalchini) can help improve lipid profiles and NAFLD due to its antioxidant and insulin-sensitizer properties.

On this World Malaria Day, let us pledge to “Test. Treat. Track” every malaria case

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India is a malaria endemic country. The reported malaria cases in the country last year have declined by 23% compared to 2016, yet India still accounts for 87% of malaria cases in the South Asia region. Also, as per the World Malaria Report, India has among the weakest malaria surveillance systems globally, with only 8% of cases detected by the surveillance system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has set a target of reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%, reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

There is still a long road ahead before the goal of elimination of malaria throughout the country by 2030 is achieved.

Malaria is entirely a preventable disease. It is also a treatable disease provided it is diagnosed and treated in time. The symptoms of malaria are non specific and can be variable. So it may be mistaken for other diseases such as viral infections, typhoid and the diagnosis of malaria may be missed as a result.

It is important to remember here that malaria is not a clinical diagnosis; the diagnosis has to be confirmed by microscopy or a rapid diagnostic test (RDT).

The ‘T3’ initiative of the WHO Global Malaria Program supports malaria-endemic countries in their efforts to achieve universal coverage with diagnostic testing and antimalarial treatment, as well as in strengthening their malaria surveillance systems

T3 stands for Test. Treat. Track., which means:

Every suspectedmalaria case should be tested
Every confirmedcase should be treated with a quality-assured antimalarial medicine
The disease should be trackedthrough a timely and accurate surveillance system.

Adopting and implementing this initiative will be a step in the right direction in the efforts to control and eliminate malaria.

Every patient of fever must be investigated for malaria to either confirm the diagnosis or exclude it as a cause of fev