NEW DELHI—As India gets wealthier, its children are getting fatter, with the number of obese teenagers nearly doubling in the last five years, according to the country’s health minister.
Citing new national statistics, Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said 29 per cent of Indians aged 13 to 18 were counted as obese last year, compared with 16 per cent in 2010. Experts on Wednesday blamed a growing fondness for fast food along with an increase in sedentary activities.
“Earlier, children’s diets in most Indian households included a lot of vegetables and lentils,” said epidemiologist Sutapa Agarwal from the Public Health Foundation of India. “But families have started eating out more often, and when they do, it’s all pizzas and burgers and fries.”
Meanwhile, the country is still struggling with one of the world’s highest numbers of malnourished children. Hundreds of millions of people live in poverty with under $2 a day.