Here's another reason to battle obesity in kids. A study conducted by doctors at King George's Medical University's orthopaedic department revealed that over 90% of overweight or obese kids develop flat foot. In India, 30% of its population is flat-footed. A person's feet are said to be flat if the arch in the sole is either too small or missing. In a small proportion, the arch turns convex. The abnormality affects a person's quality of life and deprives him of opportunities in sports and jobs besides reducing their stamina.
Prof Ajai Singh, in charge of the new paediatric orthopaedic department, who was a part of the study, revealed that 386 children upto the age of 12 were engaged in the study. "They were divided into two groups on the basis of their Body Mass Index. In kids with normal BMI, about 30% had flat foot but in the abnormal BMI category, 90% kids had flat foot," he said.
Flat feet are graded in three types. The arch of the sole is smaller than the normal height in the first one while it goes completely missing in the second type. The third category is of people in whom the curve gets reverse and it becomes convex instead. "We found that 45% kids had grade 2 flat feet while 43% had grade one flat feet. The remaining 12% belonged to grade three," said Prof Singh.
In the research published in various medical journals, including International Journal of Paediatric Sports Medicine and Journal of Bone and Joint Diseases, the doctors concluded that obesity was connected to flatfootedness in a person. They advocated awareness on the issue as the problem was reversible if identified early. "In most of the cases, flat foot is reversible while in the remaining, it is manageable. If kids come to us by the time they are five or six, we can help them with exercises and interventions like silica pads to be worn inside their shoes," said Prof RN Srivastava, co-author.