We will win 4 times the number of Olympic medals

The other day I noticed that my 26 year old son and most of his peers were taller and better built than my generation of urban Indians. And we were taller than their grand parents (our parents.)

As access to nutrition is improving for a large number of children and mothers, the population of healthy youngsters who are closer to their genetic height potential is increasing rapidly in India.

If (let’s say) 1 or 2 percent of the young people were as tall as they should be in our generation 25 years ago, in today’s India, it could be 4 percent or higher.

This means that the population that has the physical potential to compete and participate at the highest level of sports and athletics was half a million 25 years ago, it is possibly 2 million today.

So, as a sporting nation, going by the numbers of youngsters who would be a relevant population for high level sports, 25 years ago we were possibly the size of a small country like Albania and today we are probably the size of Ireland.

But the good news is that this is changing fast.

Within a decade or so, we will be much larger. By 2025, we could be almost as large as Israel and by 2035, as large as a Canada or Australia.

In parallel, the percentage of these youngsters with access to good sports facilities and coaching is increasing too.

Let’s expect that by 2035, India will be winning 3-5 times the number of medals it currently wins in the olympics.

It will still be way below our potential as a country.

To accelerate this, we need to ensure that more of our mothers and children get adequate nutrition.

90 percent of Indian parents suck at parenting

Here is a shocking statistic from the NFHS4 (National Family Health Survey) –

“Only 11.6% children (breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding) of 6-23 months of age receive an adequate diet.”

Going further

“The combination of high stunting, wasting and poor IYCF (Infant and young child feeding) stem from multiple deprivations and chronic malnutrition continues to be the dominant epidemiological concern”

Let’s rephrase the first sentence to say the truth plainly –

“India is a country where about 90 percent of the children under the age of 2 do not receive proper food or nourishment.” Jai Hind. Mera Bharat Mahaan. Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

Shameful! Chulloo bhar paani mein doob maro. That’s for the people whose chest swells with pride when we speak of our country.

For the others, there is no shame. It is sadness. It is helplessness. It’s a desire to set it right. And a sense of urgency to act.

Where are we going wrong? Why are we allowing this mammoth tragedy to continue? What needs to be done to solve this?

Conditions like stunting, if not checked and reversed by the time the child is about 2 years old, tend to be a lifelong, irreversible problem.

Why are we condemning an entire future generation this way? Where are our priorities? Why is not 20 percent of the union budget (and not less than 1%) allocated to child and maternal health? Is this not the single biggest issue that faces us?

Read more here – and cry – https://indianpediatrics.net/aug2018/653.pdf

 

Is your (South Asian) baby at risk of heart disease later in life?

Here is a very interesting thing I read in this article I refer to in this post – “The body’s metabolism adapts to low nutrition in early life, and later, a high carbohydrate diet gives rise to higher fat deposition especially in the abdomen”

I am inclined to agree.

I do not believe that the South Asian male is genetically predisposed to abdominal fat accumulation or that he is genetically predisposed to heart disease or that he is predisposed to it’s key risk factors.

The poor nutritional status of mothers in South Asia, the poor nutritional status of children under the age of five, the carbohydrate heavy and protein poor adult diets, the widespread micronutrient deficiencies. Each of these and more are the major contributors to high rates of abdominal obesity, visceral fat, heart disease and diabetes in India.

Let’s not blame poor genetics. Let’s also not start hunting for a “new normal” and use the existing poor health indicators to establish a lower “South Asian” baseline.

Our children will grow to be just as healthy, fit, strong, tall and athletic as their Caucasian counterparts. If their mothers were healthy and so they had good birth weight, if they had adequate and diverse nutrition in early childhood and ate a nutrient rich and balanced diet as teenagers and adults.

Here is the link to the article. Some of which I agree with and much that I do not – https://www.theweek.in/health/cover/2018/08/11/diet-and-the-indian-heart.html