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4 March 2012

Childhood Obesity (my own view)

WHO announced that Childhood obesity has become the most serious health risk in 21st century. The percentage of obese and overweight children has more than tripled in the last 20 years. 

As a doctor, from public health point of view, we become responsible to discuss and encourage parents to help losing their children's weight if they are overweight. We explain parents how children should be encouraged to be more active and should have less time on using computer and internet, watching television or playing computer games. They are also referred to Dietician who will help with "diet and nutrition". Sometimes, it makes me think as to why I even need to discuss all about these. Children, by nature, love playing. When we were young, we finished our school at 4pm and we played in the playground with other friends the whole afternoon until it became dark. We did not have 24 hours Television or internet then. We were happy and healthy.
I just try to compare our childhood's lives with the young kids' here. Most of the kids nowadays use computer and internet before they can even read properly. They also have 24 hr round the clock television programs to entertain them. Most of them, before they even can talk properly, have their own mobiles. Also, needless to say, everyday I come across a lot of very small kids wearing high-power glasses. 

I, as a responsible citizen and a doctor, advise the parents to let the children play as in playing physically, but not on computer. Then I ponder over all the challenges we have here such as the safe environment for them to play, location of playgrounds, cold and wet weather of the England etc. I finally concluded, school physical education (PE) maybe the best time for the children to be active. I have seen a few young kids doing very well at their school games. Who knows, these young kids might become world famous athletes representing their countries one day. I smiled to myself with that thought, which didn't last long, as a Mum just in front of me woke me up from my very deep thoughts "Oh Doc, my son's school uses computer models for Physical education, just like his computer games at home" ....Ouch!