Reduction of childhood obesity inThailand

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A study in Thailand showed an increasing rate of obesity during the last two decade (2). In the last three years, Department of Health in Thailand started their project to reduce obesity (3). This is a pilot project that aims to modify eating habit and to promote physical activity.

Obesity increases significantly in school aged children. Over 50% of school aged children are overweight and have a greater risk of chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension (1,4,5). Causes of obesity in this aged group include poor controlled in high calories and large amount of food intake (6) combined with a low physical activity (7). In addition, maternal overweight before pregnant, high birth weight (6) and short term breast-feeding also associated with obesity. To improve this condition in school aged children, Department of Health in conjunction with Thai health promotion foundation and Nestle Company launch the project to reduced obesity in School aged children by promoting Balanced diet and life style.  This program include 4 simple tips which are increasing vegetable and fresh fruit intake, balancing in sweet, salt and fat, burn all your eat by exercising and lastly understanding the nutrition label (8). This alone may not lower the rate of obesity in the long run as support from parents and teachers in their school are essential to maintain the program.

For more information please look at this web (most in Thai language)

  1. https://www.myfirstbrain.com/student_view.aspx?ID=69356
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19656310
  3. http://konthairaipung.anamai.moph.go.th/activity_2.htm
  4. http://www.thaihealth.or.th/node/13498
  5. http://www.thaihealth.or.th/node/1731
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16881435
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12549779
  8. http://blog.eduzones.com/clip/9915

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3 Responses to “Reduction of childhood obesity inThailand”

  1. mervynong Says:

    I am astonished that over 50% of school children are overweight in Thailand. My impression of thailand would be that of thai boxers – lean. I have been to Thailand on 6 years back and during my trip i did not see obese locals on the street. I assumed it had something to do with the amount of spices that a thai local would consume on a daily basis.
    Tackling obesity in children is extremely difficult. Singapore chose to single out these children for exercise programs. In some countries, such a method would spark huge outcry amongst parent associations.
    Perhaps, getting children under the age of 10 interested in physical activities(football) may be the key to motivating them to exercise at an early age.

  2. snaurec Says:

    For me too, this is very unexpected finding that so many children in Thailand are overweight! Somehow I believed that this problem is so widespread only in USA. The solution to this problem is not easy or straightforward. The programs aimed at reduction of childhood obesity should start at a very early age of a child, before his/her eating/exercise habits are formed. In fact, these programs should start with parents and their understanding of exercise/balanced nutrition importance. The food choices in school and exercise programs there are also important as the child spends so much time there. The teachers, couches and nurses in schools should have a very good understanding of the problem in order to provide an appropriate support to students.

  3. linda1972 Says:

    Regarding childhood obesity, the health policy mentioned in this article sounds like a great project; it is needed to be addressed as we know that children with obesity today are at risk to become overweight population with many metabolic diseases in the future. However, there are some points that I am concerning about. First is the difference between recommended daily allowance in children and adults, children need more essential nutrients. Second, children with obesity still need adequate amount of protein and energy for their growth while fat adults might need only energy sufficient for their daily activities. Thirdly, their basal metabolic rate is usually higher than adults when calculated per unit of weight; in fact their lifestyle is far more active than older people. The project which aims to promote programs to reduce childhood obesity must take account into those differences as well as provide accurate knowledge for parents and caregivers in the community. We do not want see people put their kids on diet in the same way they do for themselves. Actually the problem in Thailand is quite different from what reported in the US, only middle class or rich kids in big cities could have access to fast foods (mostly franchise for America!). Majority of children in lower socioeconomic class, mostly in rural area, consume more healthy food i.e. fresh fruits and vegetables from their own garden/backyard, homemade soup and rice. In most districts nationwide, fresh markets are held twice a day, early in the morning and late afternoon to evening, for local people to easily exchange their local products. Supermarkets with more processed and canned foods are available only in westernized large cities. The upcoming problem is that school-aged children perceive that having fast food is a symbol of modernity.
    Obesity is currently a substantial problem in our society. My simple conclusion might be that we should go back to the way our ancestors did, consume natural products, eat fresh, and the most important thing, protect our kids from influence of those attractive advertisements by fast food companies.

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