x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Obese, at age 2

The message is clear: don't wait until middle age before you think about adopting a healthy lifestyle.

The consequences of a scary dependence are killing us. It's not drugs or alcohol, nor cigarettes or shisha. It is food - highly processed junk food is among the greatest threats to public health. A recent Dutch study offers alarming data about early symptoms of heart disease and other health issues found in children as young as 2. Two thirds of the children studied between the ages of 2 and 12 showed a least one warning sign of heart disease such as high blood pressure.

In many people's day-to-day life, physical activity is forgotten. People sit at their desks, recline on the couch and lie down for sleep. Ditto for the next day. At every meal, plates are laden with deep-fried, greasy, salty, sugary treats laced with chemicals.

In the UAE and the GCC generally, the unhealthy trend towards inactivity and obesity-related diseases is well-documented, as The National columnist Ali Khaled notes today. This new study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, shows that a toxic lifestyle is inclining children - even those as young as 2 - towards morbid health conditions.

Most people might believe that they needn't worry about such health problems until middle age. But, it turns out, your unhealthy habits can hurt your children before they even have a chance.