Report claims China's kids losing battle of the bulge

A new report has shed light on China's battle with rising obesity - and it doesn't make for pretty reading.

According to research released by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 13.3 percent of Shanghai's school kids are being classed as overweight while 6.5 percent are obese, or seriously overweight.

The world average - last released by the World Health Organization in 2004 - was that 10 percent of school-aged children (between the ages of five and 17) were "overweight or obese."

In that same year, China's Ministry for Health claimed that childhood obesity had reached 8.1 percent, so while there seem to be less obese children in Shanghai - one of the nation's most affluent cities - more kids are now being classed as overweight.

Much has been made in the Chinese media over the rise of the "little princes'' in particular - overweight young boys allowed to grow large by their parents as weight traditionally is a sign of prosperity.

The finger of blame has also been pointed at the growing rate of internet use among young Chinese. There are an estimated 457 million internet users throughout China - but an estimated 24 million children addicted to being "online."

Shanghai Jiao Tong University weighed 6,174 boys and 5,665 girls at 36 primary schools in Luwan, Huangpu, Yangpu and Baoshan districts for its report.

It found obesity highest among boys in downtown areas where the children's parents were less-educated, according to the Shanghai Evening Post.

"Over-nutrition and lack of exercise are the causes," Cai Meiqin, vice director of the nutrition department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, told the newspaper.

"Children sit down and do homework when they get home and watch television immediately after finishing supper."

The report also claimed that 2.9 percent of overweight children and 6.7 percent of those who were obese suffered from metabolism disorders, with the normal rate globally quoted at 0.8 percent.

MS

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