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Ministry urges children, youth to focus on health in summer vacation

05/29/2024 09:18 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Wednesday urged children and youth in Taiwan to observe healthy habits during the upcoming summer vacation.

The latest Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan, conducted by the HPA between 2017 and 2020, showed that the level of overweight and obese children was 26.7 percent in the 7 to 12 age group, 30.6 percent in the 13-15 age group, and 28.9 percent in the 16-18 age group.

HPA official Chen Li-chuan (陳麗娟) told CNA Wednesday that bad living habits, including lack of exercise and consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks, contributed to the results.

According to Chen, studies have shown that students' living habits change during the summer vacation, with their daily sedentary time increasing by about 5 percent.

In addition, the number on screens for 2 hours or more a day rises by about 6 percent, consumption of vegetables and fruit falls by 0.6 servings and 1.1 servings respectively, and sugar intake increases by about 10 grams per day.

The Body Mass Index of those aged 7-18 also continues to rise, she added, without giving any related data.

Parents need to ensure their children observe good habits, such as increasing their intake of fruit and vegetables, consuming less processed food and drinking more water than sugary drinks, Chen advised.

As young people are less likely to drink water, sliced lemons can be added or tea leaves used to make cold brew tea and ensure it is more flavorful, she said.

It is also important for young people to remain active. According to Chen, the World Health Organization has suggested children and teenagers need to engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise daily and limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day.

She also encouraged students to exercise with family or friends in their free time, for example by playing basketball, brisk walking, or cycling.

According to the HPA, a research paper published in the Advances in Nutrition journal in 2020 noted that over 50 percent of obese children go on to be obese adults, and around 70 percent of obese adolescents remain obese in adulthood.

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Bernadette Hsiao)

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