Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obesity In Schools -- It's Not Just About Food!

It's good that the government has drawn up guidelines for school canteens in view of reports that a lot of them are selling food that are not nutritious.
In fact, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics carried out a study six years ago of 12 schools in the Klang Valley and found that most of the food served in canteens were fried and oily.

Not much has improved since as a recent survey it conducted showed that canteens were still selling snacks or, "junkfood".

Many schools were still selling nuggets, fried sausages and other fried food. But you know, these are what kids love.
And this is not peculiar to Malaysia. In Britain, most schools were found to be serving non-nutritious food to students. But, as with most kids, they love it.

In the 1985 School Canteen guidelines, nuggets, fried sausages, and nasi lemak were considered "appropriate".

The university's nutrition and dietetics department however, believed otherwise.
A revised set of guidelines came in force in 2008.

In August last year, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that most canteens were still selling unhealthy food and snacks that could influence the eating habits of children and contribute to rising childhood obesity in the country.

The NST report HERE.

From then, the issue of bad food in school canteens was linked to rising obesity among children,.
In April this year, the ministry announced proposed guidelines on food sold in school canteens following reports that they sell less than nutritious food.

These were to replace the existing ones. The new guidelines would take into account sugar, salt, fat and oil content.

What were okay in the 2008 guidelines would not be okay in the new list -- for instance, nuggets, burgers and sausages would be banned.
Nasi lemak, fried rice and laksa are okay but can only be served twice a week.
(In school canteens, the portions (of nasi lemak, fried rice etc) are really small. )

This sparked a debate on the food children eat -- is the food they eat in that 20-minute recess at school responsible for their state of health, or the food they eat at home?

School or home? School or parents?

I find all this debate very stimulating and amusing too. All this blame game.

On Monday (April 25), the ministry announced the new guidelines.

Here's the thing -- nobody seems to see the importance of EXERCISE for children.
Let's face it, we used to eat oodles of noodles every day in school, and had those tuck shop snacks, keropok udang, Schweppes, Coke -- God knows what else.
And there was no obesity in school. I can't remember any fat school mate.
You know why? Because physical education and participation in sports were encouraged and played a major role in school.

I'm not encouraging eating unhealthy (overloaded with salt and sugar) snacks and fatty foods. But I'm looking at it from an overall perspective.
Being fit is not just about the food you eat. It is about exercising right.

I believe that we should encourage sports today, especially when the only limbs our kids are exercising are their fingers.

It's no nuclear science to figure out the cause of rising obesity among children.
Have a good look at our school curriculum and attitude of teachers to sports and physical education.

I'm not wrong to say that in many schools today, sports is low priority. Really really low.
It's a vicious cycle. You don't encourage them (to do sports, play games), they don't develop any interest and it becomes unimportant to them.

I remember that PE (physical education) was a big thing for us in school back then (in the 70s).
From the first week of school, we'd be preparing for our school sports. If you wanted to do long jump, then you'd be preparing for that event. And if you were a sprinter, you'd be preparing for that.
Also, you had to play at least two games. I never quite liked netball, but I played it anyway.
But I loved hockey and softball. There was a stint with soccer (yep, the only girls' football team in Selangor - possibly Malaysia).
And these activities were held on weekends. Attendance was compulsory. But that was irrelevant because games and sports were part of school life.
It was a state of mind.

So, you can cut this and that in the kids' diet but if they don't play games and exercise, they won't grow up healthy.

That is what is lacking in our schools -- priority on fitness.

So, really it's not just about food. You tackle obesity in kids the same way you tackle obesity in adults.
A combination of healthy eating and fitness routine.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can do a campaign at school that being fat is not fashionable.. BUT quite tough to stick coz most parents are fat too! Whatever it is I think it is too simplistic to just blame it on food consumed during recess.

Frankly, I will always blame the parents for all the bad things that befall our children..

BaitiBadarudin said...

Hi Enah,
I wonder if any of our local chefs will have the courage of Jamie Oliver, who stood up to kids, parents, kitchen staff and school administrators to introduce healthy menus in schools in the UK and the USA?

maae said...

Salam D.Nuraina,

1.Obesiti dengan gaya makan famili sekarang dah sinonim.Lihat waktu malam dalam restoran(semua jenis), gerai makan terutama Tom Yam,medan selera,McD 24 jam dan seumpanya, pukul 12.00 tengah malam masih 'melantak' lagi dengan anak-anak.

2.Gerak jasmani hampir tiada.Duduk santai depan tv dan komputer.Gaya zaman mewah di mana ibu-bapa bergaji empat dan lima angka.Pergi dan balik sekolah selesa di hantar dan di jemput kenderaan selesa.

3.Nasi lemak juga yang jadi mangsa. Di sebab lemak konon nya badan kita terus berlemak!Walhal semua bangsa melantak nasi lemak dan hidangan kesukaan.Tidak pula di makan hari-hari dan tidak pula penyumbang obesiti.

4.Bukan semua budak suka makan nasi lemak.Kita yang tua-tua pun masih suka dan berselera dengan lauk-pauk nya.Nasi hanya sedikit cuma.Sudah makan berabad lama nya.

5.Makanan berkrim,jenis makanan segera-mee segera goreng,nugget goreng,frankfurter goreng tinggi kalori dan berkolestrol sudah tentu pilihan anak-anak.Kemudian 'junk food' yang murah dan tiada zat. Penyumbang utama obesiti.Mee dan kueteow pun berkabohaidrat dan berkalori,kolestrol tinggi + minyak goreng.

6.Yang pasti didikan pemakanan tidak di benam sungguh-sungguh dalam pembelajaran.Kita benamkan hanya mendapat 'straight A's'.Di US dan Eropah apa kurang nya dengan masaalah obesiti mereka? Lagi teruk. Di China juga semakain hebat dengan masaalah ini bermula dalam tadika lagi.Makan berkait langsung dengan pendapatan.

6.Jawaban nya makan TIDAK BERADAB. Waktu makan tidak tentu masa. Tidak pula seimbang dengan PE seperti di nyatakan.Kanak-kanak perlu aktif dan mesti lasak dalam aktiviti harian seperti kita di era persekolahan dulu.Setiap petang mesti ada aktiviti sukan rasmi atau tidak di padang sekolah. Juga dalam gelanggang kampung sendiri dengan kumpulan rakan-rakan.

7.Dulu pun kita pun makan benda yang sama di kantin sekolah cuma beza nya nuget dan frankfurter nya tidak pernah ada. Kuih kodok kucai dengan tauge jadi kegemaran.Kuih tradisional pemanis mulut.Air berkhasiat dan susu jauh sekali kecuali 'paipsi tonggeng'(minum air paip je)lepas makan.Orang miskin!

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Pathma said...

Well said a out PE. Emphasize the importance of PE and get the HM's to give the subject it's rightful place!

Anonymous said...

Nasi lemak sekarang tak macam dulu. Sekarang lemak pun tak ada, macam nasi biasa. Nak bagi makan yang nutritious boleh. Tapi budak budak di kampung tak mampulah nak bayar. Dah puluh tahun makan nasi lemak ramai juga yang jadi lawyer, doctor, engineer dan professor.

I think the minister is barking the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

Parents to be blame for the food they eat....fried chicken, fired koay teow, soft drinks, cakes......
Do not blame the school canteen. Children today do 3 things..tuition, computer and fried chicken/ cakes - no exercise. Send the children twice or thrice to dancing class, martial arts training or games, they will not be fat. The better way is the parents and their children exercise together.

Anonymous said...

Dato,
Sports in school are only done during the first quarter of the year.Thats all n then straight back to books n assingments n exams.Getting straight A,A,A,A.A(at least 5A)is top on the list.

wawa

Yellowrabbit said...

Salam Dato'Nuraina,

Tahniah dan terima kasih. Penulisan pembuka mata dan minda tentang permasalahan kesihatan di kalangan murid sekolah di Malaysia sekarang.

Gaya hidup sedantari akibat kemajuan teknologi menyebabkan murid sekolah kurang membakar tenaga lebihan. Tambahan pula subjek Pendidikan Jasmani dan Pendidikan Kesihatan selalu dianaktirikan. Padahal kedua2 subjek tersebut bermatlamat mengajar murid2cara mengamalkan gaya hidup sihat sepanjang hayat. Sihat dari segi Jasmani, Emosi, Rohani, Inteleks dan Sosial. Sihat total!

Bila lagi pihak Kementerian Pelajaran, pihak Pejabat Pelajaran ,pihak pentadbir sekolah nak sadar, betapa pentingnya mengajar murid2 cara mencapai kesihatan total? Apa gunanya akademik cemerlang tanpa kesihatan total? Hasilnya, perbelanjaan medikal meningkat, stress tak terkawal, masalah sosial berlipatganda dan........
Murid2 yg sihat total adalah aset kepada negara cemerlang ! Bantulah anak2 kita sebelum terlambat. Bagilah mereka peluang belajar bagaimana nak mengamalkan gaya hidup sihat sepanjang hayat.

raisly said...

Mungkin boleh cuba bandingkan sekolah harian dan sekolah berasrama.
Murid di asrama makan 5/6 kali di dewan makan. Menu yang sama. Lebih senang untuk buat perbandingan dan kajian.
Dulu masa di asrama sering rasa lapar, makan banyak, tapi tak 'membesar'. Ada yang kata makanannya tak berzat.
Mungkin juga masa makan yang betul. Makan malam ditetapkan pukul 7. Jadi tidak terlampau lewat.
Apa menu Rancangan Makanan Tambahan sekarang?

Anonymous said...

Obesity in pupils is the result of the pupils these days not getting enough exercise.
Pupils in the good old days walk to schools everyday - some up to 5 kilometers or more. Those further away use bicycles. So for 5 days a week, the kids exercised enough to keep obesity at bay.
Nowadays, most of the pupils are pampered either being driven to and from school in cars or they use school buses or vans.
Any stupid person knows that its exercise that keeps a person in trim form and not the food!

aku terbang said...

mari undi di sini

mari-mengundi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The trouble is nowadays children are too well looked-after, having too much to eat. In the old days we didn't have much pocket money.We had to ration.
Look at KFC etc and all those deep fried stuff. The place is full of children brought by their parents on week ends.
The lack of exercise, as much time is taken by academic pursuit of obtaining more As, is also compounding the problem . This is caused by Parents' priority problem.
Change our life style will help to solve the problem

PakMail said...

Salam Puan Nuraina,

Sebenarnya saya telah lama ingin bertanya kepada puan beberapa soalan ini. Itu pun sekiranya puan sudi menjawab.

Saya berasal dari Singapura dan pernah bersekolah di Kaki Bukit Intergrated School yang tidak jauh dari Jalan Sudin. Malah saya punyai saudara dekat yang tinggal tidak jauh dari rumah arwah ayah puan.

Seringkali setelah selesai sekolah saya akan singgah ke rumah saudara saya ini untuk bermain-main dengan anak2nya.

Saya juga masih mempunyai gambar2 lama sewaktu bersekolah di sekolah ini.

Apakah puan juga pernah bersekolah di sekolah yang sama.

Old Fart said...

Why don't people just pack their own food from home? My kids did for all their school lives and it worked perfectly. No fuss from anyone. And i think I saved a lot of money too.

Just previous nights dinner cook extra and heat it the next day and pack it in a vacuum flask and they eat during the break.

Why don't we discuss this. What really is so difficult about closing down the school canteen and getting everyone to pack food from home?

ria shah said...

when i was growing up in the 70's and eighties, we never had chicken nugget, it was unheard of in those days. now in the supermarket, we find all kinds of processed food. people buy them either becos they have less time to cook from scratch, or are simply lazy. processed food are easily available, hence convenient, and affordable. jamie oliver once showed how chicken nugget is made by manufacturers and i have since stopped eating them altogether. they just mix all the chicken meat, fats, skin with the spices and flavourings, moulded and packaged and voila, you have it. jamie says if you wanna eat chicken, eat the real thing- duh!!i'm against processed food - rendang, asam pedas, perencah this and that and what-have-you are now packaged and marketed as good stuff. these are the ones causing obesity. there shd be a campaign to eat fresh ingredients, which we also have aplenty. we shd also regulate these so-called good food. and yes, we need sporting activity of any kind.

Dave Avran said...

Salam Dato’

Good point you have made. As I’m sure you’re aware, the causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors.

Basically, obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.

Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

* poor eating habits (lack of guidance from parents)
* overeating or binging
* lack of exercise (couch potato kids – computer, tv, playstation, wii)
* family history of obesity
* medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
* medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
* stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
* family and peer problems
* low self-esteem
* depression or other emotional problems

Have a safe and productive trip back from UK.

Anonymous said...

Aii, nasi lemak jugak jadi mangsa. Apa kah dosa nya nasi lemak?
Clever betul memangsa kan nasi lemak sbb ada perkataan lemak. Kalau McD lemak/Pizza Lemak/ KFC lemak/ Sausage lemak.... tentu dah kena ban sbb ada perkataan lemak.

Walhal budak2 kat sekolah ambik makanan nasi lemak ramai yg kurus2 belaka. Lebih beza kalau budak yang kurang mampu dgn yang berada. Yg berada tentu ramai yang obese sbb ada banyak duit beli makanan coklat, Mc D, KFC yg berlemak.

bibik bayu said...

I agree. It was never food per se. It's the lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Latuk, sudah lama takde celita? Cuti ke, makin angin ke, jatuh tangga ke, jatuh cinta ke?

Anonymous said...

Dato NAS,
Dah masuk bab OBESITI
Mari kita bincang na. Saya cadangkan la kita mulakan dengan 'BASIKAL'
1. Kita hantar memorandum kat Menteri Pelajaran, semua murid pergi & balik kena berbasikal. Motosikal dan kereta di haramkan 1 kilometer dari kawasan sekolah.
2. Pengetua, guru2 juga kena tunjuk contoh. Mereka kena berbasikal ke sekolah.
3. Hasilnya kita akan dapat dalam 5 tahun mendatang.
4. Kat sini (Prai-kawasan kilang) saya dapati rakyat kita lebih suka naik motosikal/kereta, rakyat asing Bangla/Vietnam naik basikal. Hasilnya rakyat kita banyak yang terlebih sihat, depa wow sihat sejahtera.
5. Boleh tak?, kita mula dari sekolah dulu.
-sender Rakyat Penang lo.

Pn. Liza Mahmood said...

SMTI (Saya membaca tampalan ini).

Haresh Deol said...

Totally agree!

The importance of physical education in schools is simply ignored.

All the 'healthy food' in the world will not mean anything if one does not sweat it out. Period.

akiq said...

---ATTITUDE---

affendi hussain said...

I do wonder why some people vilified NASI LEMAK as the root of this problem..
You know, this simple food NL - rice cooked with santan, sambal bilis, slices of cucumber and hardboil egg)- like the old days, are such a healthy & nutritious diet.. NL are so synonymous to Malays folks.. No, I didn't grow up obese nor become stupid being feed with NL.. still become a human today.

In today menu, the decent & innnocent NL is combined with all sort of deep fried processed meat (sausages, nuggets, burger patties et. al.) plus a mouthwatering cholesterol rich sambal sotong, udang, rendang kerang and daging.. perrgh, sound irresistible....

The fact :- there is NO cholesterol from plant origin or in other words, the coconut milk cooked with the rice DO NOT carry any cholesterol in it.. those cholesterol came from those animals cooked with the santan..

Daging punya kolestrol, santan dapat nama.. apa punya turr laa....

If fact, santan have such a nutritious element vital for our cardiovascular system - Lauric Acid, a kind of fatty acid that function to "lubricate" all the valves in the arteries and inside the heart.

Here is an extract from wikipedia:-
"Coconut milk is considered very healthy in Ayurveda, and in modern times has been found to have hyperlipidemic balancing qualities as well and antimicrobial properties in the gastrointestinal tract and topically.It is also used for healing mouth ulcers. In a study with rats, two coconut based preparations (a crude warm water extract of coconut milk and a coconut water dispersion) were studied for their protective effects on drug-induced gastric ulceration. Both substances offered protection against ulceration, with coconut milk producing a 54% reduction vs. 39% for coconut water. In addition, the saturated fat in coconut milk is mostly Lauric acid, which was found to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_milk

Follow the law of gravity, if we see those plumply fats start to accumulate at the bottom parts of our body, that is the sign for us to go out there or do something to burn off those excess energy storage..

Bear in mind that we're not living in the arctics to be like polar bears, seals or whale to have such a thick heat insulation, and further more electricity cost is not cheap to keep up with such an unhealthy physical lifestyle..

SO, NASI LEMAK IS BAD? REALLY, SAYS WHO?

("/)