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India’s Supersize Kids

India’s Supersize Kids

Tue Aug 13, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Yolanda Zappaterra
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Once past the initial surprise that much of Indian’s adolescent urban population is morbidly obese, there’s little to Anita Rani’s film that is new or unexpected. It’s a sad, familiar story of a booming economy bringing the desire for a western lifestyle, complete with youth-targeted fast food outlets, sedentary living, and businesses keen to serve consumer demands at whatever cost.

And at the heart of it all are the multinationals exploiting lax or non-existent advertising and food regulations, an uninformed target consumer market, and a lack of health education. So Kaleb, aged 13 and 110kg, is putting on five kilos a month, a young student who eats six McDonalds fish fillets per sitting has ballooned in a year from 126kg to 145kg, and diabetes, already a big problem in a country genetically disposed to the disease, is rampant.

Rani juxtaposes personal stories and journeys with the views of medics, local businessmen and health educators, but nothing from the government, with whom the solution lies. Still, as she points out, regulation and education will only come when the problem becomes too large to be ignored, so all we can hope is that her film helps highlight it and bring about that solution sooner rather than later.
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