Children are becoming increasingly overweight on the island nation, as escalating obesity is one of the largest health challenges Mauritius is facing currently.
Mauritius has summoned for the comprehensive assessment of children’s eating behaviors, adding that a survey and a thorough investigation should be conducted to see what children are eating and are going to be eating in the next two decades because of escalating reports of child obesity.
Minister of Health, Lormus Bundhoo expressed that because of the alarming statistics revealing that child obesity is a grave health issue in the country reported by his Ministry, the government wants a crackdown on unhealthy eating habits by youngsters and will work closely with (WHO) World Health Organization to obstruct its effects.
“Strategies to deal with obesity must start at a time when it can be most effective, that is in the formative years of our children who are the future members of society. Our actions should start at schools”, Bundhoo said.
“Developing effective partnerships is the key to this strategy.Together we need to step up our efforts to fight against childhood obesity so that our children can grow up to be active and healthy adults”, he added.
Bundhoo appealed to parents, schools and healthcare professionals to collaborate further and focus on the issue of childhood obesity more, which has emerged as a serious issue over the years, which recent statistics and reports have suggested.
Results from the government’s Global School- based Student Health Survey performed in 2011 divulged that over 28 per cent of children aged 6 to 19 years were overweight or obese.
With only 19 per cent of students assessed were physically active for a total of at least an hour per day, and 39 per cent spent three or more hours per day doing sedentary activities.
Recent government statistics suggest that the trend will continue beyond 30 per cent in 2012; in 2004 child obesity prevalence was 16 per cent.
The causes behind the rising level of childhood obesity in Mauritius are the swing in diet towards an augmented intake of fast foods and high carbohydrate meals that are excessive in fat with vitamin and mineral content coupled with sedentary lifestyles, which include computer games and the rise of social networking sites.
According to WHO, the frequency has increased at a frightening rate .In 2010,worldwide the amount of overweight children below the age of 5 has been estimated to be over 42 million. With around 35 million of them residing in developing countries.
World Health Organisation Liaison Officer to Mauritius Ramesh Munbodh. Iterated in a press statement “that juvenile obesity is one of the most severe public health challenges of the 21st century, Affecting largely low and middle-income countries, predominantly in metropolitan settings”.