China’s children keep battling the bulge
HONG KONG, June 18 — In the fight against child obesity, China is happy to take its victories where ever it can – no matter how small they might actually be.
Much noise was made in the local media at the start of the month when Shanghai's education commission announced that the obesity rate for school children in the city had dropped for the first time in five years.
After running 1.2 million primary school children through health exams in 2011, the authorities found that the obesity rate was 16.9 per cent – down 0.6 per cent from the year before.
Any drop in that rate is a good drop, for certain, but the fact remains that obesity among kids is a serious problem across China and officials have been trying to act, encouraging parents to ensure their young ones exercise for at least one hour a day to improve their health.
Figures released last year for the capital Beijing make for even sadder reading – officials estimated 25.6 per cent of 12-year-olds in the city were obese and 17 per cent of those were under the age of five.
Considering the World Health Organization claims the overall percentage of obesity in China sits at almost six percent, these figures are even more astounding.
Child obesity levels continue to rise
A recent report from America's Johns Hopkins University claimed that, overall, 20 percent of China's children were now overweight and up to a third of Chinese boys were, compared to a Peking University report from 2004 that said the overall figure was less than two percent.
China's leaders are wary of pointing blame given some degree of it is certainly due to the rise of the Chinese economy, which has enabled people to buy more food and has attracted more and more fast food options, along with a more sedentary lifestyle.
But a recent report on the problem in the Harvard Political Review pulled no punches.
“Childhood obesity in China is a result of the predatory tactics used by American food corporations to capitalize on the Chinese market. These corporations have driven consumption in China by advertising heavily to children and dismissing scientific criticism,” the report claimed. — AFP-Relaxnews