Fifteen pc schoolchildren overweight | Daily News

Fifteen pc schoolchildren overweight

Fifteen percent Sri Lankan schoolchildren and 22 percent women are overweight. Obesity/being overweight or malnourishment are directly connected to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said.

He said the consumption of excessive sugar and salt is common in Sri Lanka which promotes NCDs.

“The consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is low in Sri Lanka which is also connected with the rapidly increasing NCDs. There are many myths on food habits and food. Young Sri Lankan women control food and deprive themselves from nutritious meals to stay slim which leads to underweight child births. Laws to regulate sugar and salt consumption are in the offing. Nutrition is one of the key issues in Sri Lanka that needs to be addressed,” Dr Mahipala said.

“It is important to breastfeed children during the first six months and continue thereafter with other food. Breastfeeding in Sri Lanka is highly admirable when compared with countries in the SAARC region,” he said.

Dr Mahipala said the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is the most important part of his or her life as the nutrition requirements of that period cannot be met after passing the age of two.

Nutrition defects occur during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life which cannot be reversed. The damage during this period is permanent. It is important to ensure the nutrition of a child during the first 1,000 days of his or her life. It is important to feed the child only with breast milk during the first six months, he said.

Meanwhile, June has been declared as the National Nutrition Month by the Health Ministry. Year 2013 has been named as the Year of preventing NCDs. The National Nutrition Council has been established under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.


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