One in 10 Thai children obese: Dept

One in 10 Thai children obese: Dept

Students at city-run Ban Bangkapi school attend class on January 31. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Students at city-run Ban Bangkapi school attend class on January 31. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Almost 10% of Thai children are clinically obese, according to a Department of Health study. The report warned the situation is expected to get worse if parents and teachers fail to improve nutritional awareness among the young.

During a briefing to unveil the findings on Sunday, department chief Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai said parents should create a healthier environment as the study suggests youngsters are exposed to an overabundance of food containing unhealthy levels of fat, sugar and salt.

According to the ministry's Health Data Centre, 9.1% of kids aged 0-5 years old are considered overweight for their age, with that proportion rising to 13.4% in 6–14-year-olds and 13.2% in the 15-18 category.

The World Obesity Federation has forecast that rates of childhood obesity are expected to double between 2020 and 2035.

These findings are in line with another department report into children's diets, which discovered that a third consume sweet snacks and beverages every day, and almost 30% are permitted to select food based purely on their own preferences.

"As World Obesity Day falls on March 4, we would like parents to select healthy food for their children. Children often make bad choices when left to choose what to eat which is only made worse by the marketing strategies of confectionary manufacturers.

"Parents and schools should teach them how to select good food and what the consequences to their health a poor diet can pose," he said.

"They should eat sweets no more than twice a week, a serving of fish at least once a week, a maximum of three eggs a week, as well as more calcium-rich foods such as sardines, beans and lentils.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are recommended every day, as is exercise to strengthen muscles and bones," he suggested.

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