"When a child is obese, their metabolism does not run optimally," he said at a talk show entitled, 'The Role of Nutritionists in Preventing Stunting and Obesity,' which was accessed online here on Friday.
When a child is obese, the metabolism in several organs, such as the heart, pancreas, and kidneys does not run optimally, he explained. This then makes the child susceptible to diabetes, kidney failure, and other non-communicable diseases, he said.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, obese children have more blood cells that do not contain oxygen, making them more susceptible to COVID-19 than children of normal weight, Andriyanto observed.
“COVID-19 is actually a virus that, when it enters the body, sticks to cells. Thus, the cells spread in the body but the cells look for cells that are not oxygenated," he explained.
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To this end, he advised parents of obese children to give their children more foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits and green vegetables containing vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium.
Parents are also expected to help their children go on a healthy and safe diet.
Obese children should eat antioxidant foods whether they like them or not, he said. Parents are advised to be creative in making the foods so that their children would want to eat them, he added.
Andriyanto also expressed the hope that nutritionists will help people by educating them about nutrition for preventing obesity and even stunting.
"Obese children are recommended to eat lots of green vegetables and fruits, in the midst of a pandemic, like it or not (they should eat them). Do not worry there are lots of fruits in Indonesia," he remarked.
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