Physicians group tackles obesity in children
BY UMA KODURI
Thursday, January 10, 2013
1/10/13 at 4:34 AM
The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Tulsa chapter and the Walk World Walkathon Organization have taken up a new venture to fight childhood obesity. The group has previously organized Walk World Walkathons to spread messages of healthy lifestyles.
The first WWW was inaugurated by Tulsa first lady Victoria Bartlett Nov. 11, 2011. Mayor Dewey Bartlett proclaimed 11-11-11 as "Walk Tulsa-Walk World Day" when we promoted walking as the easiest way to exercise, and promoted recycling for "Go Green World."
The second WWW was done six months later on May 12, 2012. We promoted awareness of hands-only CPR - Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation without mouth-to-mouth breaths.
The third WWW, with gold sponsor Saint Francis Health System, was inaugurated by Mayor Bartlett with a ribbon cutting on Dec. 12, 2012, to fight childhood obesity. He proclaimed 12-12-12 as "World Childhood Obesity Awareness Day."
On Dec. 16, we also promoted "Unity in Diversity" and had friends from more than 30 different countries hold their national flags. We hope these friends will now pass on the message to fight childhood obesity to their families and friends in other countries across the world.
More information about these World Walkathons is found at www.tulsaworld.com/walk and Facebook - walk world walkathon organization.
Obesity is common, serious and costly. It is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. Today in the U.S., more than one-third of adults are obese. Nearly one in five children are obese and one in three are overweight.
Consequences of childhood obesity include: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; Type 2 diabetes; breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma; joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort; fatty liver disease, gallstone and gastro-esophageal reflux/heartburn; social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem.
Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. American society has become characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity.
Parents should set an example for their children by living and promoting a healthy lifestyle: Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables; cut down on foods high in fat and sugar like chips and candy; drink water instead of sugar drinks like soda, and do not force-feed children.
Also, get at least 60 minutes of exercise/activity each day. Walking is one of the easiest exercises to do. Play active games with your children and have fun. And limit TV screen time for kids to no more than one to two hours of quality programs per day.
Schools can also help children to eat healthy and be active. They can offer healthy meals and snacks at a reduced price and salad bars to help students eat more fruits and vegetables; sell healthy foods in vending machines and try to avoid chips, candy, soda pop; offer daily physical education classes and teach students to play active games.
Finally, stop subsidizing obesity. NYTimes.com has a useful concept: Remove the subsidy for soda-pop and double the value of food stamps for healthy "real" food like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Several cities, including New York, have such programs. Our AAPI organization is requesting the city of Tulsa to do the same.
Uma Koduri, M.D., is founder and past president of the Tulsa chapter of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
Uma Koduri: Parents should set an example for their children by living and promoting a healthy lifestyle