|Children do exercises at a school in HCM City. One in three children aged between 10 and 15 in HCM City has belly fat. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — One in three children aged between 10 and 15 in HCM City has belly fat, which according to scientists is more significant than body fat percentage unlike hitherto believed, a survey by the city's Nutrition Centre has found.
Fat stored around the middle is believed to be a better predictor of weight-related diseases.
The survey, which involved nearly 5,000 children, found 22 per cent are overweight and 13.4 per cent are obese.
Do Ngoc Diep, director of the centre, said the proportions of children with belly fat and with obesity were too high.
Two major causes of obesity and belly fat in children were excessive calorie intake and lack of physical activity, she said.
Most of the overweight and obese kids polled said they did not have time for sports or physical activity, she said.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, a physical education teacher at Tran Binh Trong Primary School in District 5, said students only had two periods a week of physical education.
"In Viet Nam, there is not enough space for children to take part in physical activities in school or ride bicycles on the street. Most children can only take part in physical activities during physical education period at school."
"But since most schools lack sports grounds, the physical education curriculum cannot provide training in sports for children, and simple physical exercises involving movements of hands and legs are not enough to prevent obesity," he added.
Nutritionist Truong Hong Son said the ratio of overweight and obese children below five in HCM City is 9.6 per cent, higher than the global average of 6.9 per cent. The city's rate is also the highest in the country. — VNS