While 20 percent of Iranian children have been shorter than usual, the number has decreased to 4 percent over the past two decades, which indicates that children are currently taller than before, an official with the Ministry of Health has said.
“Since two decades ago, the number of short children have dropped in the country, and Iranian kids have become taller due to a significant improvement in their nutrition,” IRNA quoted Zahra Abdollahi as saying on Tuesday.
She further regretted that the main problem kids are currently facing is overweight or obesity, which are rising sharply and could endanger children’s health.
“Obesity has affected 20 percent of the students in the country, as consumption of fast food and carbonated beverages have risen which are the major causes of obesity and overweight,” she explained.
She also said that obesity and overweight are more dangerous in children and teenagers, since overweight kids are more prone to becoming overweight adults.
“Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers,” she said, adding that if children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.
Unlimited access of children to high-calorie and low-nutrient foods in their houses, kindergartens, schools and play grounds, encourages the child to consume more less-healthy foods, and as a result, being overweight or obese, Abdollahi stated.
She went on to say that reducing physical activity by too much use of computer, watching TV for a long time and not playing outdoors, leads to excess fat accumulation.
“Children and adolescents should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day,” she concluded.