Majority of Delhi high school children are at a risk for NAFLD
: 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).
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.
Dr. K K Aggarwal