Screen Time Contributes to Childhood Obesity

Posted: 7/2/2011

Posted July 2, 2011

-- Long hours of sitting in front of the TV and computer screen are making Malaysian youth obese, said the Health Ministry.

A ministry official said prolonged hours in front of a screen -- be it to watch television or play video games -- had led to youths leading inactive, couch potato-type lifestyles.

"People are spending more time in front of a screen.

"This contributes to obesity among youths because the output of energy is not balanced with their energy input, or the food they eat," said public health department nutrition division director Rokiah Don.

She said this after launching the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (Maso) 2011 Conference at a hotel here.

Rokiah said the obesity problem in Malaysia was made worse by the fact that the country was a "food haven" with a wide variety of delicacies.

"The food here is also cheaper compared with other countries.

"It is also easily accessible since there are restaurants open 24 hours a day.

"Fast food chains are located in residential areas here, unlike in some other countries," Rokiah said.

She added that many Malaysian delicacies were deep fried and as such contained a higher amount of calories compared with other methods of cooking.

Rokiah added that one in every five Malaysian adults was either overweight or obese in 1996 but this had increased to two out of five adults in 2006.

"The World Health Organisation has also projected that at least 2.3 billion adults worldwide will be overweight while more than 700 million will be obese by 2015," she said.

Maso president Prof Mohd Ismail Noor said Malaysia would host the International Congress of Obesity for the first time in 2014 and was the second Asian country to do so after Japan.

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Copyright © 2011, The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Asia News Network

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