20 per cent of secondary school students in Brunei are obese, says survey

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Feb 3 (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Findings from the Global School-based Student Health Survey 2019 among teenagers in Brunei aged 13 to 17 has shown that one in two teenagers are overweight or obese. Meanwhile, the rate of obesity among secondary school students is around 20 per cent.

Routine monitoring on the status of obesity among children aged six to 13 showed a worrying trend since 2009 whereby the trend has increased by one point every year. This is not surprising, given that only 11.5 per cent meet the recommended level of physical activity and as many as 33.6 per cent drink one or more canned drinks, which have a high sugar content, every day.

The Health Promotion Centre (HPC) organised a workshop on school’s initiatives in health promotion for primary and secondary private schools in Brunei-Muara and Belait districts.

Sixty-one teachers from 35 private schools attended the two-day workshop which concluded on Tuesday.

The concept of school health promotion, disseminating findings from the Global School-based Student Health Survey 2019, Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2019 and Health Promoting Schools Survey 2016 as well as sharing information and plans in implementing the pilot programme of School Health Promotion in the Sultanate were among the objectives introduced during the workshop.

It also aimed at discussing existing health-related policies and health promotion activities implemented in schools and to devise a school health promotion action plan suitable for students and to support the achievement in the main goal of the World Health Organization (WHO): Making Every School a Health-Promoting School.

According to research, children especially teenagers are vastly exposed to the risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impacting their health when they become adults.

These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.

Four risk factors for NCD identified in children and teenagers are an unbalanced diet, tobacco use, alcohol use and lack of physical activity, according to WHO in 2017.

Meanwhile, other health indicators also show an alarming rate where nearly 20 per cent of secondary school students have reported having suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months and 12.2 per cent have attempted suicide.

Additionally, 23.7 per cent of secondary school students reported that they had been bullied in the previous 30 days, while 31.1 per cent reported sustaining a serious injury within the past 12 months.

To help reduce the rate, the WHO has introduced the school health promotion concept which uses the ‘whole-school-approach’ method to promote health and educational achievement to school members by using the school’s potential to create a more conducive learning environment.

The concept does not start from scratch or by adding to the existing curriculum or education programme, but utilises and strengthens existing capacity or resources to improve the existing initiatives in promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing a safe learning environment.

The approach has been proven to show a positive effect on health, including an increase in physical activity, eating a balanced diet, reducing violence at school and abuse of prohibited substances.

With such workshop, the participants have the opportunity to discuss interactively and share thoughts and experiences to improve the effectiveness of the Health Promoting School model and absorbed into schools nationwide. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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Brunei , Survey , Teen , Major Issue , Obesity


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