Childhood Obesity in Japan: A Growing Public Health Threat

Abdul Jalil Rohana; Aiba, Naomi
June 2012
International Medical Journal;Jun2012, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p146
Academic Journal
Background & objective: Childhood obesity in Japan is rising up perpendicular to the obesity in adult. It is a growing public health concern that will be reaching epidemic levels. Obesity in Japanese children was prominent with other complications such as hypertension, serum lipid disorder and fatty liver, especially during later life in adulthood. 'Tracking' of obesity in children is useful to predict serious complications in adult obesity, even though the effect of overweight on mortality and morbidity has not been well documented. Previous studies suggested that obesity during childhood will be accompanied by serious health complications in later adult phases. Methods: A review of literature on previous studies related to the prevalence of obesity in children and factors associated particularly for Japan scenario were gathered and summarized. Results: Most studies showed due to the remarkable improvement of socioeconomic development in Japan affected eating habits and lifestyles among Japanese children. Irregular food intake is an important issue, in other words children tend to skip their main meals especially breakfast. Rapid shift from enjoying traditional food toward Westernized diet was closely associated with metabolic syndrome and other co-morbidities. Apart from that, sedentary lifestyles among today's Japanese children particularly lack of physical activity led to the increasing trend of obesity. Conclusion: Obesity in Japanese children became a threat because of poor quality of life and metabolic syndrome such as hyperlipidemia, abnormal glucose tolerance and hypertension. A strong relationship between obesity and prevalence of diabetes mellitus became more prominent coupled with unhealthy lifestyles among children. Hopefully, the active promotion of food education Shokuiku will prevent chronic childhood obesity in Japan especially during school lunch program. In general, programs aimed to increase activity levels may be helpful to combat childhood obesity problem worldwide.


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