Researchers are concerned that obesity may become a bigger problem among children in Shanghai after completing a study that found kids here have almost the same average height and weight as those in the United States, Shanghai News Times reported.
The research team, under the leadership of Jiang Yifang, dean of children nutrition at the Children Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, found that boys aged 10 to 15 were slightly taller and heavier on average than those in the US.
Meanwhile, girls aged 10 to 13 are a little taller on average than US girls of the same age. However, local girls weigh more than their US counterparts in nearly all age groups except those above 16, the report said.
In 2006, the research team recorded the height and weight of 6,277 boys and 5,743 girls less than five years old throughout Shanghai and compared it to that of 10,541 boys and 9,904 girls in the same age bracket in 2001. The study showed that the average height and weight for both boys and girls increased sharply during the period, but the numbers of overweight or obese children were almost equal to those of 2001, the report said.
However, in 2004, Jiang’s team collected the information from 11,103 boys and 10,328 girls aged 6 to 11 around the city. After comparing statistics from 1999, Jiang found these children weighed more than their counterparts five years ago, the report said.
Jiang said the number of overweight and obese boys increased an average of 2.3 percent and 3.9 percent respectively every year from 1999 to 2004, while the rate for overweight or obese girls climbed an average of 1.2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively during the period, according to the report.
“It clearly indicates that primary school students are in danger of becoming either overweight or obese,” Jiang told the newspaper.
He suggested that parents closely monitor the weight of their children and make dietary changes if necessary.