Food habits, lifestyle lead to kidney stones in kids, August 22, 2010

Mumbai: Children as young as two are having surgery to remove kidney stones, once considered a grown-ups affliction.

Minal and Mehul Joshi (names changed) were shocked to be told their 18-month-old son Yash had a complex stone, Staghorn calculi, in his kidneys. ‘‘One has always associated kidney stones with uncles and grandfathers. Moreover, the condition seemed easy to resolve with medicines. But we were devastated to learn our son needed a procedure,’’ says Minal.

She believes poor water intake was to blame. But an April study in the Journal of Paediatrics lists a host of lifestyle factors — increased intake of salt, lower intake of milk, obesity and antibiotics — and says these doubled the incidence of kidney stones in South Carolina’s children between 1996 and 2007.

India does not have its own studies on paediatric kidney stones. Doctors offer varied opinions but all agree it’s a cause for concern. Paediatric urologist Dr Arbinder Singhal, who operated on Yash says he has seen at least seven or eight such cases in the last one year.

Steps towards Prevention

Cut down on colas and drinks high in sugar or salt. A Wisconsin university doctor has warned it’s not just salty chips and French fries, but processed foods like canned soups, packaged meals and even sports drinks like Gatorade Dairy products, can reduce the risk of stones because dietary calcium binds with oxalate before it reaches the kidney. Children between five and 10, who have stones, should drink six glasses of water a day. Be active.

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