The obesity rate among elementary school students in Ho Chi Minh City has doubled to 38.5 percent in the past decade, according to a survey recently released by the local Nutrition Centre.
|More and more elementary school students are getting obese, a survey says. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Sixty percent of those obese students were diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, the survey indicates.
Overfeeding by their parents and physical inactivity on the students’ part have been identified as the two main reasons for the surge, says the survey which was conducted at 15 elementary schools in the 2009-2010 academic year.
Students are now overfed and have to study so much that they do not have time for extra-curricular activities, according to Nguyen Van Tri, principal of Vo Truong Toan Elementary School in District 10
“At our school, many parents often give their children extra meals during break time. And they also send the kids to afterschool classes despite our effort to discourage them,” Tri said.
A third-grader who looked heavy and slow said he had to struggle with schooling from dusk till dawn every day.
Asked about his diet, the student answered beside the standard set of three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) he was daily held to an overwhelming regimen of snacks and milk in between.
Parents are depriving their children of the chance to engage in physical exercise with their extreme parenting style, according to Doctor Do Ngoc Diep, director of the city Nutrition Center.
They usually do not let their kids do the housework, walk or bike to school, or engage in other physical activities, Diep points out.
Principal Tri said many parents even carried their children from the school gate to the classroom on the second floor for fear that the kids could suffer from the weight of their school bags.
It is inadvisable for many parents to simply think their kids should study and eat as much as possible, Doctor Diep says.
She notes that obesity may accelerate the development of heart-related diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even cancer.
Lack of confidence and a psychological complex may result from obesity, giving overweight students a lesser chance of success in their studies and later in their career, the doctor warns.
Poor facilities at school are also to blame as many schools in the city currently do not have enough space for their students’ physical activities.