Survey sounds obe­sity alarm for chil­dren

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By YANG WANLI yang­wanli@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A na­tional re­port in­di­cates that Chi­nese kids have grown rapidly in both height and weight over the past 40 years, with ex­perts call­ing for more ex­er­cise and sleep to en­sure chil­dren de­velop healthily.

The Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­leased the Fifth Na­tional Chil­dren’s Growth Re­port on Wed­nes­day, which took 161,000 chil­dren na­tion­wide un­der the age of 7 as the sam­ple.

It found that both boys and girls had in­creased in both height and weight from 1975 to 2015. And the in­creases were most no­table in the group aged be­tween 6 and 7.

The av­er­age height of boys in this age range in­creased from 112.2 cen­time­ters in 1975 to 121.5 cm in 2015, while the av­er­age height of girls rose from 111.4 cm to 120 cm dur­ing the same pe­riod.

The av­er­age weight of boys aged from 6 to 7 years had in­creased by 4.82 kilo­grams dur­ing the four decades, while the av­er­age weight of girls in the same age group had in­creased by 4.05 kg.

“It shows that the Chi­nese people now en­joy bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions and nu­tri­tion than 40 years ago,” said Zhu Zong­han, vice-chair­man of the China Maternal and Child Health­care As­so­ci­a­tion.

“But we should be alert to the prob­lem of obe­sity among chil­dren,” he said.

The obe­sity rate among chil­dren un­der 7 years old had risen from 3 per­cent in 2001 to 9 per­cent last year, ac­cord­ing to Zhu.

Chil­dren who are over­weight or obese have a higher risk of di­a­betes, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Ting, deputy di­rec­tor of the Cap­i­tal In­sti­tute of Pe­di­atrics in Bei­jing.

He at­trib­uted the two prob­lems to the coun­try’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and changes in life­style, with young­sters eat­ing more but do­ing less phys­i­cal ex­er­cise .

The com­mis­sion re­leased a new di­etary guide­line in May, em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of a bal­anced diet.

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