Emotional eating among youngsters worries doctors

India State-level Disease Burden Initiative , conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington — revealed that 11.4% of total deaths in Karnataka over the last 15 years were in the age group of 15-39 years. It also found that non-communicable diseases or lifestyle disorders are the leading causes of death in Karnataka in the same age group. Ischaemic heart diseases (sudden cardiac death) caused the most number of deaths in Karnataka over the last 15 years across all age groups. What’s worrisome is that most of the major non-communicable diseases — including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and neurological disorders, cancers, musculoskeletal disorders and chronic kidney disease — add to the total disease burden, which has increased considerably in India since 1990. Despite these alarming numbers, doctors are worried about the erratic eating patterns that they observed in the youth.
Throwing light on the erratic eating patterns triggered at the emotional level, diabetologist, stresses, “Indulging in desserts when you are happy and ordering more when you are sad is like the prescription for modern-day happiness. Emotional eating has become a habit of youngsters. Unaware that you feed the body and not the emotions during this time, one may even eat food that he or she wouldn’t normally reach out for. Quite contrary to this are others who give inordinate emphasis on what goes into their diet to ensure the body is fit as a fiddle. These are two sections of the urban youth, with two different styles of approaching food. However, little do our youth recognise that it is not ‘what’ they eat, but ‘how’ that makes an impact on their health.”
Speaking on the need for a healthy lifestyle,Dr adds, “A healthy lifestyle is a key to a healthy heart. Some small healthy changes in life can give you great dividends. Eat healthy food. Choose more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and avoid fast food. Spare time for physical activity, recreation and sleep well to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr advises, “There is a high emotional connection between what we eat and why we eat, which has to be aligned. Anxiety or depression will make you overeat or under eat, and it can be triggered because of various reasons — be it work related, family issues or stress. But what we need to understand is that erratic eating behaviours lead to increased risk of adiposity. The metabolism gets stressed and it will increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and other non-communicable diseases.”