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Gangdong-gu Office Steps Up Fight Rapid Surge of 30.8% Obesity in Children and Adolescents With Obesity Prevention Policies


Gangdong-gu Office Steps Up Fight Rapid Surge of 30.8% Obesity in Children and Adolescents With Obesity Prevention Policies

- Gangdong-gu Office has contributed in lowering children’s obesity rate by creating an environment organized to form healthy lifestyle

- Continuous implementations stemmed from customized obesity prevention programs has helped improve children’s health level

 Based on the statistical sampling result of the ‘Korean students health checkup 2021’ that was released by the Ministry of Education in November last year, the obesity rate of children and adolescents attending elementary, middle, and high schools increased up to 30.8 percent from 25.8 percent in 2019 when COVID-19 broke out. Since about 80 percent of obese children and adolescents are highly likely to suffer from adult obesity, many points out the importance of establishing the foundation for health control during the period of forming living habits.

 In regards to such essential indication, Gangdong-gu Office (head: Lee Soo-hee) is currently pushing ahead with a variety of programs designed to sustain children’s healthy body by preventing them from getting obese. In 2017, Gangdong-gu Office, which recognized the severity of high obesity rate of children and adolescents, was the first administrative district office in Seoul to enact a basic ordinance related to creating programs for tackling obesity of children in the district. Even during the pandemic period, Gangdong-gu Office has kept on implementing obesity prevention programs.

 Gangdong-gu Office strives to create school environments where students can form healthy living habits

 As such, Gangdong-gu Office has been operating the so-called ‘Moving Class, Healthy School’ program. It also has been putting efforts on building environment where young students can enhance physical activities by providing standing desks, sitting cushions designed to help maintaining right sitting posture and equipment for physical activities. The office further assisted in installing children’s game zones and executing ‘dynamic’ class schedule campaign aimed at enhancing activities both in classroom and at home.

 Moreover, Gangdong-gu Office has been consulting with nutrition teachers to run a campaign of supplying healthy meals as well as distributing offline and video educational materials related to the campaign to other teachers and students. The campaign has also led volunteers to use a mobile application to get feedbacks on diet and physical training through an online one-on-one coaching. 

 In recognition of its tremendous efforts on coping with obesity of children and adolescents, Gangdong-gu Office was awarded last year a citation under the Minister of Health and Welfare while commemorating Obesity Prevention Day. Last year alone, the practice rate for physical activities of students in the district surpassed 19.9 percentage points compared to the Education Ministry’s average. Daily vegetable intake rate, which was below the Education Ministry’s average before the initiation of the program, surged more than 5.12 percentage points.

 Gangdong-gu Office also has been giving helping hands to the marginalized children to keep them from being obese by running so-called ‘Healthy Daycare Playground’ program targeted particularly at children using daycare facilities placed under seven regional children’s centers and daycare classes placed under three different elementary schools. Other educational programs include ‘Play-Type Nutrition’ program designed to teach the essence of healthy diet through recreation, field experience, and practical training; and ‘Play-Type Physical Activity’ program designed to form practical habits through various recreational activities.

 Gangdong-gu Office beefs up expertise and introduces various children obesity prevention programs by collecting experts’ opinions and providing intensive care for high-risk groups

 For the sake of sustaining a slew of obesity prevention programs for children and adolescents, Gangdong-gu Office is planning to introduce basic core programs that are applicable to all schools and specialized programs that are suitable for students with disabilities in special education schools in the district.

 Specialized programs for disabled children include specialized physical training and after school health class on managing obesity. The class will offer education on children obesity management to students, parents, and hands-on staff members.  Before doing so, Gangdong-gu Office is slated to actively gather on-site opinions in order to organize appropriate programs from special schools and boost expertise by appointing outside special education experts to the advisory committee organized to prevent children obesity.

 Gangdong-gu Office, in addition, is scheduled to enlarge the scope of individual customized health coaching program, which is limited to only students attending elementary schools so far, by allowing hopeful middle schoolers as well to be provided with health control kits, such as a weight scale with body composition analysis function installed, equipment for physical activities, and an online one-on-one health coaching service.

 “We will do our best to help children grow in good health by strengthening customized obesity prevention programs through various systematic programs and supporting plans,” said Lee Soo-hee, head of Gangdong-gu Office.

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