Child health crisis looms 37 % schoolgirls, 17% schoolboys obese

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Over ninety percent of the schoolchildren would be vulnerable to non-communicable diseases owing to lack of exercise and bad food habits, the spokesman for the Health Ministry warned yesterday. Only11 percent of students had regular physical exercises, he said.

The spokesman said that the remaining 89 percent lacked any form of exercise. School children should have at least one hour of physical exertion daily. Schools, too, had left physical exercises to children, he said, pointing out that earlier the school curricular included a period of physical training. However, a majority of schools did not have a separate period for physical training anymore.

The spokesman said that the situation could lead to a crisis in the future as 10 to 15 percent of school children were vulnerable to diabetes while 37 percent of the schoolgirls and 17 percent of the boys were obese. He said students were addicted to junk food full of starch, oil, sugar and salt. Some of the beverages they consumed could contain carcinogens.

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