Students monitored for weight problems

By Yang Wanli ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-06 07:29:24

Beijing health authorities will spend a year monitoring the overweight and obesity rate in the city's schools as part of an effort to reduce the number of fat children.

From September 2014 to July 2015, the obesity rate of students in the city was 15.7 percent, an increase of 5.6 percent over the same period the year before, according to the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission

The commission announced that it would cooperate with the Beijing Municipal Education Commission in a weight-control project - from elementary to high school - at some pilot schools beginning this month.

Clinics at the schools will evaluate student health every semester. Children with an overweight or obesity problem will be given special monitoring and guidance.

Medical professionals will provide weight control lectures to those children and their parents, including suggestions about nutrition and exercise.

In the Elementary School Affiliated to Renmin University of China's Jingxi Branch, a similar weight-control project has been underway since 2013, when the school found that nearly 19 percent of its 458 students were obese.

"We invited those kids to have weekly weight control lectures with their parents. Each child has a 'lose weight' diary to record changes in their height and weight," said Zhang Yan, doctor of the school's clinic.

She said one reason behind the increase in obesity may lie in the fact that many families have only one child who is doted on and may be overfed.

"Children can get sufficient exercise at school. We even provide an extra hourlong sports class after school," she said.

"But if children are fed too much - or eat too many salty snacks or sweet food at home - that will create a risk of getting fat," she said.

Adults with a body mass index between 24 and 27.9 are classified as overweight, while those with a BMI of 28 or higher are classified as obese.

"Obesity is like a bomb to threaten children's health and brings more problems as they grow up," said Yang Qinbing, director of nutrition at Beijing Tsinghua Chang Gung Hospital.

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