What causes obesity? The obvious answer is "too many calories." But increasingly researchers believe that undernourishment of certain essential nutrients could also play a role. Overfed -- and undernourished? It sounds counterintuitive, until you consider that many commonly consumed foods highest in calories (pastries, chips, soda, etc.) are also lowest in nutrients.
Nutrient deficient food also leads to delayed satiety level. In other words, when you eat junk food you're starving your body of nutrients; even though you've had "enough" calories, your brain gets the signal to go on eating in a vain quest to meet nutrition needs.
New research suggests that absent nutrients -- not just excess calories -- may be contributing to childhood obesity as well. In particular, one study from the University of Rochester demonstrated a significantly higher prevalence of iron deficiency among obese children, in a national sample of nearly 10,000 subjects, between the ages of 2 and 16. In fact, the obesity-iron deficiency link was so strong that the study authors recommended considering an elevated body mass index (BMI) as an independent risk factor in anemia screening.
Though common in India, anemia is even more widespread globally, affecting over 30% of the world's population. Symptoms of deficiency include lethargy, learning problems and impaired immune response. Plant sources of iron -- cereals, soybeans, white beans, lentils, spinach, soy milk and raisins -- are not as easily absorbed as animal sources, but absorption can be enhanced through consumption of foods rich in vitamin C (red bell peppers, kiwis, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, goose berry (amla) amaranth leaves ( bathua ) etc.). There are many nutrients lacking in children’s diet i.e.potassium, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants and fiber.
This major problem of malnourishment can be easily addressed by planning balanced meal patterns and creating more family interactive environment around the dining table.