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Unhealthy diet rich in salt, sugar driving kidney diseases among kids: Doctors

IANS Mar 15, 2024

Childhood kidney disease is increasing due to unhealthy lifestyles, with a diet rich in salt and sugar, said doctors on World Kidney Day on 14 March.

World Kidney Day is observed annually on March 14 to raise awareness about the various risks to the kidneys as well as to improve access to treatment.

The theme this year is Kidney Health for All - Advancing Equitable Access to Care and Optimal Medication Practice.

Key lifestyle factors like intake of unhealthy fast foods, and lack of exercise have been major factors for the development of kidney diseases. These factors also lead to other diseases like hypertension and diabetes, which increase harm to the kidneys.

"Data is suggesting an increase in childhood kidney disease. This rise is partly linked to lifestyle factors like processed food intake, hidden salt and sugar, and a lack of physical activity. These habits contribute to poor overall health, including a rise in diabetes and obesity, both of which can damage the kidneys," said Poonam Sidana, Director of neonatology & Paediatrics at the CK Birla Hospital, Delhi.

She noted that smoking and alcohol also raise the risk of kidney diseases.

Akhila Vasanth Hassan, Paediatric Nephrologist at Narayana Health City, said in Bangalore that the incidence of stones in children has globally increased.

The doctor lamented that "increased salt and protein consumption, and the rising prevalence of obesity/ metabolic syndrome" are responsible for "75 to 85 per cent of kidney stones in children''.

She noted that malnutrition and water deprivation may also contribute to the increase in kidney stones.

Further, CKD, often thought of as an adult disease can also affect infants and children under five. It is a severe condition where the kidneys gradually lose function over time.

"Around 60 per cent of childhood CKD stems from structural abnormalities sometimes identified during the antenatal ultrasounds of the mother. In such cases, it is crucial to conduct ultrasounds within the first week of the birth of the baby for timely detection and treatment," Madhura Fadnis Kharadkar, Consultant Pediatric Nephrologist at Surya Mother and Child Super Speciality Hospital Pune, told IANS.

The doctors called for maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, proper hydration, increased fruit, and vegetable intake and importantly reduced intake of processed foods high in salt and sugar, for good kidneys and overall health.

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