The Director of Clinical Services, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Dr John Obafemi Sotunsa has warned parents against giving children high-calorie, high-fat food, saying it leads to child obesity which has been found to be a major cause of diabetes and cardiac-related complications.
He disclosed this while delivering a lecture at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Nigeria chapter 2017 Safety Summit on Friday, March 24.
Sotunsa said filling a child up with food containing cholesterol levels above 100mg/DL spelled danger for the child and is the direct opposite of “taking care of this child”.
In the lecture titled, “How Not to Die: Climbing the Wellness Ladder of Safety”, he revealed that incidence of diabetes had more than quadrupled within ten years in Nigeria, blaming the upsurge on child obesity.
He said, “The issue of diabetes is becoming a big problem.
“Early on about ten years ago, the incidence of diabetes was just about 1.5 to 2 per cent.
“But presently, we are talking about 9 percent and it’s increasing, and a major culprit is obesity because this causes resistance to the insulin.”
“And unfortunately when you compare your childhood picture to that of your own child, you find out that childhood obesity is on the increase and it is even in your home.
“You want to take care of this child, so high calories, so high fat, and not knowing that you are causing trouble for this child,” he noted.
“So we encourage that you watch the diet and reduce obesity from childhood if we are going to be able to fight diabetes effectively.”
The doctor-cum-medical researcher said intake of 250mg of meat results in increase in weight gain, impacting on obesity and affecting glucose metabolism.
He said eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and reducing animal content in diet would help tackle prostate cancer, stroke, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, kidney disease and diabetes.
In the same vein, Sotunsa advised Nigerians against taking indiscriminate intake of herbal products, saying it could cause acute renal failure.
He stressed that kidney disease in Nigeria took a very negative turn some years ago with the proliferation of alternative therapy solutions.
“As with this alternative therapy, you find out that herbal products are readily available.
“Even when you are going on the street, (you see) various colours: apple-green, coke colour.
“We mix them together and take them, and this has led to increase in acute renal failure in the country, especially among young people,” he noted.
He added that many consumers of herbal products do not know the safety profile of those products and therefore expose themselves to danger.
“With this, it worsens the scenario such that a lot of dialysis centres are springing up to be able to mop up a little bit of the damage but we are still a long way to go,” he quipped.
Furthermore, he reiterated his call for proper diet and reduced intake of animal content to combat kidney disease and respiratory infections including tuberculosis, especially in children.
Sotunsa said, “The major function of the kidney is to be the laundry house; to clean up all these wastes, from animal protein, animal fat and cholesterol.
“When these are much more than we require in our diet, their consequences can be great with time.
“Proper diet will help the child to overcome respiratory infections because proper diet builds up immunity and helps the body reduce allergies to milk and other animal products, and environmental factors – overcrowding, smoking.
“Malnutrition and tuberculosis go hand in hand and we know that it is endemic in this environment.”