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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1554-1561

Optimizing the impact of health and related programmes / policies to address the issue of Childhood Obesity in India----A narrative review

1 Principal Consultant, Cardiovascular Health, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Heritage Institute of Medical Sciences, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
4 Faculty of Medicine, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey
5 Department of Health and Family Welfare, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
6 Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
7 Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Texas A & M University, Texas, USA
8 Independent Public Health Researcher, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sudip Bhattacharya
Jolly Grant, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2008_20

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Non-communicable diseases are already acknowledged as a double burden, and now childhood obesity is putting extra strain on our health system. The current paper aimed to analyze the ongoing health and related programmes/policies in India, and we discussed the existing opportunities in the programmes to address the issue of childhood obesity in India. We searched the “MEDLINE,” “PsycINFO,” “Scopus,” “Web of Science,” and “Google Scholar” databases using the following keywords: (”overweight”) and (”obesity”), (”childhood obesity”), (”nutritional programmes in India”), (”Health policies in India”), (”malnourished children in India”) in combination with each other and in truncated form. All the relevant articles and policy documents (MOHFW, INDIA) available in the public domain were included to support the argument for this narrative review. We found that we have programme gaps like guidelines issues by Food Safety Standards Authority of India to tackle childhood obesity and it has not been strictly implemented due to multiple reasons. School health programme has an opportunity to address the issue of childhood obesity, but at the ground level the outcomes are not very promising. The National Nutrition Mission have only focussed on undernutrition and anemia problem, ignoring the overweight/childhood obesity. Primary care physicians are key players in the treatment of childhood obesity, yet rates of obesity management in the primary care setting are low. National Programme for prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & stroke is dealing with health promotion and prevention, early diagnosis, and management of all ages, except children. Diet provided in Integrated Child Development Scheme is calculated based on calories, not by the quality which is a concern to us. The breastfeeding promotion programme named Mothers Absolute Affection programme has not been implemented with letter and spirit. Other than health programmes, we assume that Ministry of Urban Planning, Foreign Direct Investment policy, Advertisement Council of India and many more sector/policy/programme are indirectly responsible for the increasing burden of childhood obesity in India. Lack of awareness and wrong perception also responsible for the development of childhood obesity. We have multiple National Health Programmes and Policies to address the childhood malnutrition, but are focussing the undernutrition component only, ignoring overnutrition problem in the children, which is emerging as quadruple burden to our health system. Appropriate actions and inclusion of suggestions provided in this study for the improvement of the programmes at the practical level needs to be considered by the policy makers to halt the ever-rising trend of childhood obesity and primary care physicians should play a leadership role.

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