How Junk Food Is Killing Kids in Kashmir

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With the changing lifestyle and changing food habits among people especially children and youth, the rate of diseases occurrence have shot up from thirty to eighty percent by these trendy habitual eating stuff. According to National Health Cell, junk food is the main cause of different diseases which includes obesity, chronic ailments and kidney disorders.

Fareen Khan, a 12th class student from Tangmarg was admitted in the emergency ward of SKIMS after she complained of severe abdominal pain.

 “We admitted her in the hospital as she was in severe pain. She was injected first but the pain did not stop, later on, the doctor advised to put her on glucose drip.  The main reason for her frequent abdominal pain is because she takes a lot of junk food like chips and cold drinks,” said Haleema Akhtar, the mother of the patient.

“She eats one to two spicy chips daily which resulted in her frequent abdominal pain. The doctor has advised her to not take such food items as it will cause her more problems”, she added further.

Junk food contains high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins and minerals. It has little nutritional value and contains excessive fat, sugar, salt and calories which are very harmful for the human body.

Nearly 40000 deaths occur yearly due to junk food and nearly ten lakh people get severe ailments like obesity, heart diseases, stomach ulcers, Kidney stones and even cancers.

 “From the last 10 years there is increase in number of patients who are suffering from kidney disorders, abdominal pains and heart ailments and the main reason for occurrence of these ailments is because of changing food habits. Young patients mostly suffer from abdominal pains. There are nearly 5-10 such patients who are admitted in the emergency ward for treatment,” said a doctor at SKIMS hospital.

“A doctor can advise patient not to take such food stuff but he cannot force it on the patient. The people must understand that junk food is not good for our health and there are so many instances where patients have lost their lives. So, people must have to take care of their food habits,” he further added.

A Scripps Research Institute study in 2008 suggested that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.

In 2013 Delhi High Court banned Junk food sale in schools across India. In the judgement Food Safety and Standards Authority was directed to implement its guidelines on making wholesome nutritious food available to school children, but this was implemented only in schools of Delhi and centrally certified schools of other parts of India. In Kashmir there was nothing practical on part of this judgment.

“I know junk food is not good for health but I can’t stop myself from taking it,” said Adfar Masood, an engineering student from Illahi Bagh, Buchpora. 

“I am trying my best to minimize the level of taking this food stuff in my daily routine as they cause harmful diseases,” he added further.

Director of SKIMS, Dr. Showkat Zargar, also a well known gastroenterologist of the Kashmir said ,“ yes there is an alarming increase in the number of  patients who are mostly of young age suffer from abdominal infections and pains by consuming a lot of junk food which is not good for health. Every year there is sharp increase in number of cancers and other related diseases because of changing food habits among people.”

“Children especially falling in the age group of 5-18 years tend to have more attraction towards junk food. We have to generate awareness at schools, colleges and universities so that students can understand the harmful effects of taking junk food. Parents also should keep off their children from taking such food stuff,” he added more.

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