Rising child obesity seen in Japan; how some mothers keep their kids slim

Child obesity is increasingly a problem in Japan with the incidence of obese kids at over 10%.

Researchers say child obesity leads to a host of problems.

Among them, is abnormal enlargement of left atrium or chamber of the heart. Heart enlargement is a known risk factor for heart disease, stroke and heart rhythm problems. Another study showed impairment in the heart’s ability to relax between beats in children who were overweight or obese. Earlier studies had already found more rigid arteries in such children – a possible sign of plaque deposits starting to form. They also have low bone mineral density after the age of puberty. Diabetes a disease not common in kids is surfacing in childhood now. One twelve year study concluded that severely obese children have a higher risk of becoming obese adults, and that the risk of adult obesity was twice as high in boys than in girls. Liver disease is reported to be the latest obesity risk in fat children.

A lack of exercise and enriched diets for children have been pinpointed as the causes of child obesity. But a recent study also showed that kids who got less than 9 hours of sleep at night were obese by the time they got to middle or high school. 

Preventing obesity

One study made a comparison between schools with the discovery that at elementary schools where parents were attentive towards their children’s health, there was a clear decrease in percent body fat. In this study it was found that several items in the check list that the following were responsible for reduction of body fat:

1-avoiding over-eating

2-avoiding snacks after evening meals, and

3-going to bed early in the evening and waking early in the morning.

These 3 items are considered the most important for the betterment of obesity in children.

In a 2007 a study identified smoking as a cause for obesity in children, reporting that mothers who smoked during the first three months of pregnancy were three times more likely to have obese children.

Articles:

A twelve year follow-up of treated obese children in Japan

‘Fat kids have arteries of 45-year-olds’ Sydney Morning News
Australian and research using ultrasound tests is a wake-up call for parents, says team.  used tables for 45-year-olds, who often do get such exams, and found the children’s “vascular age” was about 30 years older than their actual age.

Obsesity alarms traditionally slim Japan

Researchers link lack of sleep with obesity in children  Tues 22, 2008 Japan Times

Japan Battles With Obesity

Obese Japanese children have low bone mineral density after puberty

Clinical characteristics of Obese Japanese Children with Acanthosis Nigricans

Japan Battles Rising Obesity Rates

Japanese kids gaining body fat, heart risks like Western counterparts

A Study on Obese Children: Educational Intervention Checklists used for Obese Children

Smoking mothers will have obese children

Liver disease in fat children latest obesity risk 08-09-2008

4 thoughts on “Rising child obesity seen in Japan; how some mothers keep their kids slim”

  1. It seems most affluent humans and of course children don’t have the self discipline to resist putting excess food of the wrong kind in their mouths. I think government intervention is needed – it worked with smoking. Parents through blogs like this and on school committees, etc. should insist on it.

    More and more studies show that exercise, especially a sport that the child enjoys, is complementary to good nutrition and importantly, it helps children’s cognitive development, – they think more clearly, achieve better grades at school and grow into more balanced, self confident and happier adults.

    Child (or adult) obesity is a recent disease of affluence. Many parents themselves are afflicted by it and are obsessed about the difficulty of losing weight, whereas I believe the solution is quite simple. In the 3rd world, it is rare to see obese people, whether adults or children. The latest ‘fad’ diet is probably not going to help. For some people, their metabolism converts food to weight very easily – it is ‘in their genes’ they say and if so, they have an efficient metabolism, because they don’t need much food to survive – they would be one of the fortunate ones in the ‘hunter gatherer’ days! Limiting intake is only a matter of degree.

    As a kid, I grew up in New Zealand during the 2nd world war, when food was scarce and rationed. I remember only 2 kids out of 400 at my primary school who were overweight. One lived on a farm and ate dairy and other foods which were obviously not rationed or at least, were hard to ration by the authorities. The other had no interest in physical activity, but loved eating, particularly fatty fried food. Overweight adults were also a rarity.

    I walk along the streets of Balmain in Sydney, after schools are out and most kids are eating ice creams, or consuming sugary drinks, bought for them by their mothers! When I grew up, the standard of living was much lower, but an ice cream or lemonade was a special treat, bought for me rarely.

    Controlling a child’s obesity starts at home and parents need to set the example and use some old fashioned discipline. This is not always easy, but the ability to achieve it in a way that doesn’t turn children off is an art that parents can work at for a win/win result. Nutritious meals of a modest size, devoid if possible of processed or fast food is a great start. If the meal size is too large, parents should remove the excess and put it out of sight, as most people, including children (and me) can’t resist eating what is put in front of them. See http://fitnessforum.us

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more. Food and health is the most basic way we take care of our society, education on how to and why we need to control our impulses and think about what we eat, ought to be covered well in basic education (which it is in Japanese schooling).

  2. Absolutely. Educating children on what and how to eat to optimize their health would be welcome by most parents and hopefully the children. It seems an obvious palce to do it – at school. Good to know you do it in Japan

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