Limited screen time, healthy lifestyle, and adequate physical activity a must for children

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Parents must model healthy behavior for kids

New Delhi, 26 April 2019: The United Nations on Wednesday released its first-ever recommendations on physical activity for children under five, with disputed advice on subjects ranging from screen time to “tummy time”. The guidelines from the WHO may read to some parents like common-sense practices, including not exposing babies under one-year-old to screens. With obesity posing a rising public health threat and 80% of adolescents “not sufficiently physically active,” WHO said it was time to outline best practices for children under five.

For infants under one, the WHO recommends at least 30 minutes of physically activity a day, including prone position — or tummy time — for those not yet mobile. For children between one and two years old, WHO recommends three hours of physical activity each day, with no more than an hour of “sedentary screen time” and at least 11 hours of sleep.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Childhood obesity is a reality today with two of the biggest contributing factors being imbalanced diet and sedentary lifestyle. More than 30% people of the society including children have potbelly abdominal obesity. Most children eat out at least once or twice a week and have an electronic device at hand while eating. While there is awareness among parents on the situation, not much is being done to counter the problem. Elders should model the behavior they want children to follow and therefore, the changes begin with them. A healthy childhood is the only foundation for a healthy life ahead.”

Screen-based media can influence children and their behaviour; for example, children can copy or be influenced by negative behaviour, sterotypical representations of gender, violent imagery or coarse language they see in advertising and other media.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Having access to so many different streams of information through gadgets has been found to decrease the brain’s grey matter density, which is responsible for cognition and emotional control. In this digital era, the key to good health should be moderation i.e. moderate use of technology. Most of us have become slaves to devices that were really meant to free us and give us more time to experience life and be with people. And we are leading our children in the same path as well.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Interact with them: Instead of giving them a phone to keep them busy, spend some time interacting with them and talking to them. This will eliminate the need for a device.
  • Put computers or TVs in shared spaces: This way it will be easier to keep track of their usage and limit screen time.
  • Opt for a tech-free time: Ensure devoting few hours in a day to zero screen time for the entire household.
  • Watch your habits: If, as parents, you devote a lot of time to mobiles and computers, children are naturally inclined to follow suit. Be a positive role model for them.
  • Eat together: Meal times should be free from screens and a time for the family to sit together and eat. Make this a practice.
  • Indulge in physical activity: Ensure that the children spend sufficient time in outdoor activities. This will make them less prone to using Smartphone.

Time for a new law for non-disclosure of the identity of the accused until proven guilty

Health Care Comments Off

The news of a sexual harassment complaint by a woman court staffer against Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has created a new debate in the country.

The allegations were leaked to the media and while the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations is yet to start the minds of the nation have already started passing a verdict in their mind.

There is no doubt that fair and impartial investigation and trial should be carried out in the present case too, but one should not forget that the fundamental principle of punishment in India is that an accused should be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and is convicted only after a fair trial.

Even Regulation 7.5 of the Medical Council of India Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 defines a professional misconduct only after Conviction by Court of Law (Conviction by a Court of Law for offences involving moral turpitude / Criminal acts). So, any person is innocent unless proved guilty without reasonable doubt.

In the last two decades, The Indian Evidence Act has changed to the extent that in sexual crimes, it is the man who has to prove that he did not commit a sexual crime, and such proof has to be beyond reasonable doubt, which is the yardstick for assessing the evidence in criminal law. Disclosing or publishing the name, picture, video or other details of female and child victims of sexual crimes is strictly prohibited and entails punishment in India.

However, the same is not true for an accused, and the media or any person is free to circulate the details of an accused named in a sexual offence.

An accused may be declared not guilty after a trial. But then it becomes too late as by that time, the name, image and other details have been circulated in the media enough so that he would have suffered an economic and social death penalty. Such persons may lose jobs, their family, reputation, livelihood and in the effect, the very fundamental right to live with dignity as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

This course of events is not just confined to sexual harassment cases.

The same holds true for the image of medical professionals. Any public allegation, right or wrong, can destroy the hard-earned reputation of the doctor, much before the verdict is delivered.

Now that the Chief Justice of India is named in a sexual harassment case, it’s time for the constitutional courts to embark upon a new law and provide for non-disclosure of the identity of the accused until proven guilty.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA