Avoid children's day snack binge: dept
The NationSchools, families reminded of the dangers of obesity and tooth decay
Schools and families were urged yesterday to avoid filling activities for National Children's Day with sweets and soda pop.
"The wrong choices of food will lead to tooth decay and obesity," said Dr Somyos Deerassamee, director-general of the Health Department.
To mark Children's Day, which falls on Saturday this year, parents, schools and many organisations are planning to host parties and events with a variety of activities to educate and entertain the new generation.
Torpong Chaiyasarn, deputy public health minister, said 56 per cent of 12-year-olds were suffering from cavities.
Sa-nga Damapong, head of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation's Proper Nutrition for Thai Children project, said improper diets had impaired the physical and brain development of many children.
"Poor nutrition can affect children's intelligence quotient (IQ)," he said.
Many schools supply free lunches to their students but the quality is deplorable.
"The budget is only Bt13 per meal. At some schools under local administrative bodies, the lunch budget is just Bt8 to Bt9 per head," Sa-nga said.
The government should raise the lunch subsidy to Bt15-Bt18 per student to improve their health.
"I will start seriously pushing for the increase in March," he said.
An investment in children will pay the country back tenfold. If children have high IQ, the country will have better quality human resources for development, he added.
Assoc Prof Ladda Mo-suwan, a researcher with the Health System Research Institute, said a survey conducted from 2008-09 found children still had nutritional problems.
"About 4.4 per cent of children aged 1-14 are shorter than average," she said.
For children under two years of age, 2.4 per cent had severe short stature and risked developing intellectual disabilities.
"Of children under two, 4.1 per cent are underweight and at risk of malnutrition," she said.
There was an increase in the number of children with obesity and excess nutrition.
All authorities must join hands in solving children's nutrition problems, she added.http://www.nationmultimedia.com/
-- The Nation 2012-01-12