NEW DELHI: Adults may not be the only ones prone to heart ailments, newborns are equally at risk. Newborns in India have high fat inside abdomen leading to higher risk of heart diseases from birth itself, according to a study.
Findings of the cohort study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show Indian children have less of muscle and more fat in their body as compared to many other places around the world. As a result, Indians are more susceptible to metabolic diseases.
Doctors say the risk can be minimised if pregnant mothers keep their weight under check and the fat is not passed on to the newborn. Besides, presence of such fat in the body from birth enhances the importance of exercise and physical activity.
“Indian newborns often carry extra weight and therefore, it is important for parents to encourage playing, physical activity and observe healthy eating habits,” says Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C-DOC Centre for Diabetes. He said abdominal fat is not only responsible for high blood pressure but various other heart diseases as well as insulin resistance and diabetes.
“A susceptibility to metabolic diseases is associated with abdominal adipose tissue distribution and varies between ethnic groups,” the findings of the study said, highlighting the link between body fat and heart diseases.
It also showed that Indian neonates have more body fat than Chinese neonates.
Another recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology had showed that women consuming food rich in fructose or fruit sugar levels can put their babies at risk of developing heart disease as adults.
Cohort studies conducted in Europe have also found links between childhood abdominal fat and heart diseases with as many as 35.4% overweight children suffering high blood pressure there. In India, childhood obesity is reaching alarming proportions with around 22% prevalence rate over the last five years.
According to Dr Misra, addressing obesity and overweight at school level is important to control the rising burden of cardiovascular diseases among adults.
According to the World Health Organization, childhood overweight and obesity is rapidly increasing in developing Asian countries, including India.
The number of overweight children in low and middle-income countries has more than doubled from 7.5 million to 15.5 million between 1990 and 2014. In 2014, almost half (48%) of all overweight and obese children under 5 years age lived in Asia and one quarter (25%) in Africa.