The Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, had and others. organized a Teachers Training Programme on "Diabesity" (Obesity and Diabetes). Vellore is undergoing a rapid nutritional transition, driven by aggressive advertising and easy availability of food people are increasingly consuming refined carbohydrates, high saturated fatty snacks and sweetened carbonated beverages. School canteens are stocked with junk food and physical training periods are either truncated or cancelled as a sacrifice for more theoretical academic sessions.
Regular workshops focusing on improving awareness of urban and rural school children, teachers and parents in Vellore through interactive education on Diabesity, health and nutrition-related knowledge and behaviour, have been commenced. Based on our previous study, 20% of school children have pre-diabetic range sugars and 60% have a low good cholesterol.
The 6 hour programme conducted by the department included a focus on the epidemiology of the problem in the introduction, an overall overview on how obesity and diabetes evolve, instituting healthy dietary practices for people with and without diabetes including children, proper foot-care practices for people with diabetes and an exercise plan.
The workshop concluded with giving the school teachers the following objectives :
- a) Introducing and increasing the number of physical training periods for school children
- b) Reducing the unhealthy food in school canteens- cutting down on fried food, cool drinks and ice cream, and increasing fruit consumption.
- c) Downstream teaching amongst teachers.
- d) Inculcating a healthy lifestyle amongst children during classes and assembly sessions.
25 teachers from 7 schools participated. Some schools have already installed an embargo on the junior school children from using the canteens. A follow up programme on the weights of the school children and the teachers is on. The objective is to have a lasting impact on the health of children and their parents.