Tackle childhood obesity

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am

Child obesity is becoming a serious problem in Hong Kong and we need to tackle it before it's too late. Firstly, schools should educate students about the importance of a healthy diet. They could invite experts to give talks on the dangers of being overweight.

Moreover, school canteens should be banned from selling junk food. Instead, the menu should include healthy food, such as salads, fresh juice, milk and bread.

Secondly, the government should teach parents to cook healthy meals and distribute recipes among housewives. Thirdly, the government should encourage children to do more exercise by providing more sports facilities in public housing estates.

Today's children spend far too much time in front of their computers or glued to TV screens. Physical inactivity leads to poor health. It's time we took action to curb this dangerous trend.

Carrie Cheung Wing-lam, Tung Chung Catholic School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Carrie. You have hit the nail on the head. Generally, obesity is caused by two things - eating more food than your body uses, and not exercising enough. It is very easy to overeat these days because most of our convenient food is very high in calories. Some restaurant's dishes might contain an adult's whole day's calorie intake in just one portion. According to weightlossforall.com, a single meal at McDonald's can bring you close to half of your daily calorific needs - a Big Mac is 485 cals, with a large fries (400) and a milkshake (380).

Obesity brings a raft of problems with it. It's not just the social issues of not being able to keep up with your slimmer friends, but it can also affect your body in the future.

You're right when you say sitting around in class, in front of the computer or television is also a major cause of obesity. Children were not meant to do this. They were meant to be outdoors, running around, making their bones strong and allowing their muscles to develop properly. We need try to get at least an hour or two's worth of exercise every single day.

Susan, Editor