Aao School Chalen Project on 5th September “Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Lifestyle Diseases” Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA Childhood obesity is increasing worldwide at an alarming pace. India has not been spared either. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is steadily increasing. A multifactorial disorder, unhealthy diet - eating foods high in fats, sugar and salt (junk food, processed food) and a sedentary lifestyle contribute significantly to this escalating epidemic. Today, TV, internet, computer and mobile games have taken precedence over outdoor sports. Childhood obesity is well-recognized as a precursor to obesity in adulthood. Most obese children grow up to be obese adults. Overweight and obesity in childhood also predispose children to other lifestyle disorders such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome later on in life. Hence, there is an urgent need to prevent and control obesity in children. Prevention of lifestyle diseases starts in childhood itself. Schools shape the lives of their students and so have a very important role to play in this battle against childhood obesity in creating health awareness among children. Healthy habits in childhood lay a foundation for a healthier adulthood. As you are aware, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has initiated a nationwide “Aao School Chalen Project” beginning last month. The 5th of every month has been chosen as the day for any activity related to this project across the country. The topic in focus last month was ‘Vector-borne diseases’ and the related activities were successfully conducted in over 200 plus schools. The next date for this project is therefore 5th September 2017. The topic is “Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Lifestyle Diseases”. 5th September also happens to be Teacher’s Day. The talk should revolve around the following guidelines: • Respect the Laws of Nature and eat seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables. • Consume all sever colors and six tastes in food. • Avoid refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white maida and white rice). • Reduce the quantity of salt by 40% in diet. • Walk or move whenever you get an opportunity. • There are no medicinal advantages of consuming tobacco in any form. It only harms. • While eating out follow the principle “Heat it/Cook it/ boil it /Peel It /Forget it”. • Get up at same time every day. • Don’t forget to practice yoga and meditation learned in school, while at home. • Don’t miss playing in the sun during school break & do not miss mid-day meal. You can visit/adopt a school for this activity. Visit the school assembly every 5th of the month and talk about the health messages that are uniform across the country. You can also be a moderator and let students interact with each other on these important topics. States and Local Branches of IMA are requested to circulate this information to all the members. I hope that you will participate maximally in this national health initiative of IMA to make it a success.