SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean children are gaining weight as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, forcing them to stay home.
A lack of physical activity and increased consumption of snacks and late-night meals are seen as primary factors.
At a local academic conference last year, one of the studies pointed to a climbing body mass index (BMI) among children three months after February last year, reporting an increased proportion of the population as overweight.
“Studying 188 elementary school students between 6 and 12 years of age revealed a three-month climb in BMI from 18.5 kilogram per square meter (㎏/㎡) to 19.3 ㎏/㎡, and an overweight proportion rising from 24.5 percent to 27.7 percent,” said Prof. Lee Ki-hyeong from Korea University Anam Hospital.
Medical experts worry that child obesity is no less riskier than adult obesity when it comes to various health complications.
In fact, the spread of child obesity is resulting in higher proportions of young patients in their 20s suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and fatty liver.
The number of diabetes patients in their 20s in South Korea rose from 9,335 people in 2015 to 11,571 people in 2019.
The number of children and teenagers suffering from high blood pressure rose from 4,610 to 6,363 over the same period. The number of those with hyperlipidemia rose from 11,047 to 14,590 individuals.
The number of individuals suffering from fatty liver disease rose from 9,482 in 2015 to 13,029 people in 2019.
“Child obesity can lead to various health complications, just like adult obesity,” said Prof. Yi Dae-yong from Chung-Ang University Hospital.
“The so-called fatty liver disease is becoming more commonplace among younger Koreans, and can develop into liver fibrosis or liver cirrhosis if not properly treated.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)