The Edu ministry’s latest health statistics survey taken between April and June this year of 3.3 million kindergarteners showed about 30% of kindergarten kids have less than 20/20 vision (this rate is twice that in 1979 at 16.5%).
For elementary school students the rate was 29.9%, up 1.8% while for middle school students the rate was 52.6% up 1.4%.
The survey also showed that 2.7% of kindy students suffered from asthma. These figures are record highs.
The ministry gives the reason for the weakening eyesight in many children as the watching of TV and playing video games, while asthma was attributed mainly to house dust allergy. A ministry official said, ” The main reason for these problems is that children don’t tend to play outside as much and are staying at home more”.
Source: Dec 14, 2008 The Yomiuri Shimbun