Fight against obesity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 October, 2010, 12:00am

We need to do more to fight obesity. Latest government figures show a large drop in rates among women, but a significant increase among men and a positively dramatic one among children. A number of education and treatment programmes are under way; we are only too aware that we will suffer life-threatening diseases unless we eat better and get more exercise.

For all the effort, though, it is clear that we are still taking too lightly one of our weightiest issues.

Obesity is not an easy matter to take on. Most of us have desk jobs and work long hours, while down time usually involves computers, television and eating out and drinking with friends.

The average flat has a tiny kitchen, which means many of us favour restaurants for meals. Tight public space and a low number of sporting and recreation facilities make exercise a challenging prospect.

Authorities have sensibly focused the fight against obesity in schools. That is where the problem is greatest, after all, and there is nothing more sobering to a parent than to be told by a child that they are too fat. For all the effort, though, much more clearly needs to be done.

Obesity is a drain on health resources and the economy. Tackling the problem is a community-wide effort that has to be driven by government policies on more healthy food and recreation. The best place for the battle to be strengthened is in schools.

This is an edited version of a leader which appeared in the South China Morning Post on Monday