Introduction: Change in food patterns has played an important role in making children overweight and obese as seen in the recent years. It has become a matter of concern since one in five children studying in schools of Delhi, have been reported obese or overweight. These overweight and obese children have 70% risk of becoming over-weight/obese adults.
Methods: We conducted a study to observe the effect of food habits on children in 8 schools in Delhi. In this study 1155 children studying in class 3rd, 4th and 5th were included and a regular follow-up was done. A questionnaire was prepared to know about food habits, choice and change in food habits.
Results: The analysis of data revealed some disturbing facts about eating patterns and preferences for fast foods. It was observed, 39% of children preferred fast foods like burgers, pizzas, french-fries as compared to 11% who liked eating fruits. 44% of the children drink 1 soft drink per day. Class 3rd children, only 11% preferred fast food Class 4th children -the percentage remarkable increased to 39% preference for fast food. Class 5th children, alarming observation was that in Class 5th the percentage rose to 66% in these children for preference to fast food.
Discussion: The present study indicated that a lot of preventable factors like family members, television and media ads plays and important in increasing this preference for fast food in children. Children started developing preference for fast food from class 3rd and by the time they reached class 5th majority of them had developed a preference for the fast food.
Conclusions: Recommendations since the above category children have the highest incidence to become overweight / obese and this can lead to diabetes and it’s complications in adult years Intervention should be initiated from class 3rd onwards by family, schools authorities and media to create an environment so that children get inclined towards healthy food habits.
A. Jhingan: None.