Well-known doctor and medical researcher Dr Chris van Tulleken addressed the issue of childhood obesity and said that it is a disease caused by ultra-processed food, just like cancer is caused by tobacco.
The WHO has termed childhood obesity a serious public health challenge of the 21st century. India has the second-highest number (14.4 million) of obese children in the world.
Dr Tulleken told The Indian Express that childhood obesity is a more serious concern than coronavirus. He explained that it is a huge concern because of being not curable. "Children do not lose weight and become healthy. They become adults with overweight who end up having enormously expensive chronic health problems."
The expert noted that it leads to mental health issues and physical health issues. He also pointed out the impact of obesity on education and its economic implications. "Obesity also comes with malnutrition because ultra-processed food has very little nutritional content. Many obese children are suffering from diseases that are normally associated with not eating enough food," he said.
In his documentary, he reveals that food marketed in plastic packets and having ingredients you don't have in your kitchen is ultra-processed food. They are also designed to be over-eaten. He disagreed that lack of lifestyle factors like exercise also play a key role in obesity in children. He also drew attention to how the junk food industry is damaging the planet.
Dr Tulleken said that the lack of nutrition in these foods is affecting the brain health of children. This makes it difficult for them to sleep and learn. He praised the traditional Indian diet and said that whole food accompanied with oils is not bad, reported The Indian Express.