Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

China grapples with rise in childhood obesity

China grapples with rise in childhood obesity
May 22, 2016

Rising affluence in China has seen a dramatic rise in obesity among children and adolescents with around one in six boys and one in 11 girls found as being obese in a new study.

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved nearly 28,000 rural students from Shandong province and compared obesity rates today with those from the 1980s.

Fearing that China is paying the price of adopting a Western lifestyle, Professor Joep Perk, cardiovascular prevention spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, stated “this is the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen.

“The study is large and well run, and cannot be ignored. China is set for an escalation of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and the popularity of the Western lifestyle will cost lives.”

Professor Joep Perk, cardiovascular prevention spokesperson for the European Society of Cardiology.

Dr Zhang Yingxiu, leader of the investigation team at the Shandong Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong University Institute of Preventive Medicine in Jinan, Shandong, added “China is a large agricultural country and our findings have huge implications for the entire nation.

“The rises in overweight and obesity coincide with increasing incomes in rural households and we expect this trend to continue in the coming decades in Shandong province and other regions of China.”

Data for the study was obtained from six national surveys of schoolchildren carried out by the Department of Education in Shandong between 1985 and 2014. A total of 27,840 rural students aged seven to 18 years had their height and weight measured.

The prevalence of being overweight and obesity in boys increased from 0.74% and 0.03% in 1985 to 16.4% and 17.2% in 2014, and in girls increased from 1.5% and 0.12% in 1985 to 13.9% and 9.1% in 2014, respectively.

Rising childhood obesity is not unique to China. In the United States, a new study published online in the journal Obesity shows that overweight and obesity among children aged two to 19 has been continually increasing since 1999, reaching 33.4% in 2014. In particular, the prevalence of severe obesity - correlated to an adult body mass index of 35 or higher - has seen the sharpest increase.

In Hong Kong, the rate of overweight and obesity among school children is lower, according to statistics from the Centre for Health Protection. Among primary school students, the combined rate of overweight and obesity rose from 16.1% in 1995/96 to 22.2% in 2008/09 and fell to 20% in 2013/14. For secondary school students, the corresponding rate increased from 13.2% in 1996/97 to 19.5% in 2013/14.

However, China’s enormous population and diverse regions compound the situation.

Dr Zhang explains “rural areas of China have been largely ignored in strategies to reduce childhood obesity.

“This is a wake-up call for policymakers that rural China should not be neglected in obesity interventions. We need to educate children on healthy eating and physical activity, and monitor their weight to check if these efforts are making a difference.”

The authors speculate that boys are fatter than girls because they are given preferential treatment. The Chinese 2005 National Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance reported that 4.3% of boys and 2.7% of girls frequently had soft drinks, while 12.7% of boys and 4.3% of girls spent more than two hours per day playing computer games.

Dr Zhang adds “traditionally the societal preference, particularly in rural areas, has been for sons. That could result in boys enjoying more of the family’s resources. In addition, boys may prefer to have a larger body size than girls.”

Professor Perk “the problem is that kids sit there with a two-litre bottle of fizzy drink. To burn those calories they would need to walk 46 kilometres but they don’t.”

Rapid social and economic change in the past 30 years in China have been accompanied by nutritional changes, Dr Zhang believes, adding “in China today, people eat more and are less physically active than they were in the past. The traditional Chinese diet has shifted towards one that is high in fat and calories and low in fibre.”

Professor Perk concludes “this calls for a catastrophe committee in China to stop the alarming rise in childhood and adolescent obesity.

“They need to return to their former nutritional habits instead of eating junk food. Parents must take some responsibility and point their children in the direction of healthier choices.”

11th May 2016 - CHINESE SPORTS INDUSTRY TO BE WORTH MORE THAN US$460 BILLION BY END OF 2020

18th December 2015 - CHINA ADVANCES MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN YOUTH FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT

13th August 2013 - CHINA MARKS NATIONAL FITNESS DAY AS NATIONAL SURVEY SHOWS A DECLINE IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AMONG YOUNG

24th August 2012 - OBESITY PRODUCES DIABETES EPIDEMIC IN INDIA

2nd September 2011 - GLOBAL GOVERNMENTS MUST ‘GET TOUGH ON OBESITY’


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

EventPro

At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

LANDER & ROGERS

Lander & Rogers' Sports Business Group is the leading sports law practice in Australia, representing over 150 national and international sporting bodies. Our clients include international…

read more

Legal

 
 

GreeneDesk

Track. Engage. Retain GreeneDesk is a suite of cloud based software solutions helping health clubs, leisure centres and swim schools to effectively track progression, improve customer engagement and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Education / Fitness / Technology

 
 

LES MILLS ASIA PACIFIC

Les Mills Asia Pacific Les Mills Asia Pacific (LMAP) have been setting the benchmark for providing professional fitness solutions across Australia and South East Asia since 1996. Our world renowned…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

GEOFF NINNES FONG AND PARTNERS

Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues

 
 

Hadley/Series Australia Pty Ltd

Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…

read more

Arts / Culture / Design / Entertainment / Venues

 
 

Tim Batt Water Solutions

Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation / Technology / Venues

 
 

QUAYCLEAN

Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business