One In Every Four Indian Children At Risk Of Diabetes?

Diabetes in Children
Image used for representation only.

Ironically, when one large part of our country suffers from malnutrition, the others are prone to diabetes.

According to a recent analysis by the World Health Organization, one in four children in India between the ages of five and nineteen years of age is obese. The last nation-wide estimate by the National Diabetes Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation pegged obesity at 14 per cent in the age group.

Pune365 spoke to experts and informed citizens on the issues relating to the increase in cases of paediatric diabetes.

Speaking to us, Dr AG Unnikrishnan, CEO and Endocrinologist at Chellaram Diabetes Institute explains that obesity in childhood is a forerunner of diabetes in adulthood. The common type of diabetes in adulthood worldwide and in India is type 2 diabetes.

The common type of diabetes in children is type 1 diabetes. This is a condition where the children cannot produce insulin and insulin injection or pump treatment is needed lifelong.

However, There is no evidence that Indian children are especially prone to type 1 diabetes.

Dr Unnikrishnan further explains “If the child complains of excess thirst, excess urination, loses weight despite good appetite- then a simple blood glucose test may be done to confirm diabetes.”

To keep the child diabetes free in adulthood- parents must take precautions in childhood itself – by giving the child a balanced diet avoiding a highly refined carbohydrate-rich diet, avoiding intake of trans fat and by encouraging physical activity.

Preventing childhood obesity is paramount- and this means we must encourage children to avoid junk food and be physically active, Unnikrishnan added.

Obese Child

Kavita Naik, Nutritionist says, “Diet plays an important role in an individuals life irrespective of their age group.

The major reason for the increasing diseases among children is due to the changes in their diets and decreasing physical activity.

For kids, it is very essential to have a balanced diet which should include complex carbohydrate over simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels slowly as opposed to simple carbohydrates. Rye Bread, Jowar, Bajra, Oats, Nachni, Buckwheat are some of the good options in this food group. 

For proteins, whole pulses, dal, lean meat, fish and dairy products within reasonable limits is very important. Protein is important for the body because it builds all our hormones and enzymes.

It is important to restrict them from eating too much junk food and if a child is overweight he/ she should not consume any junk food at all.

My children are more reliable on fast food these days and this has become a serious matter of concern to me, says Rohini Savla, Teacher.

My younger kid is already overweight and we have tried different things for his weight loss but nothing has worked so far. His habit of excessive urination worried us and we checked for diabetes with our doctor.

Fortunately, he wasn’t diagnosed with any type of diabetes, but his eating habits are a worry for us, Savla added.

Our family ensures health first and all of us, be it our daughters or my husband, all are into functional training, says Gargi Gokhale, Housewife.

My daughters also consume a lot of junk food, but we ensure that they burn it out by exercising well. Also, we ensure that our kids have a high protein diet, and a good amount of dairy products.

We don’t restrict or force them to eat certain thing and all we focus on is teaching them good eating habits, Gargi added.


#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.


Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar