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Epidemic obesity in school and community: current issues on causes, consequences, prevention and management with an Asia Pacific perspective
  1. Ming-kai Chin
  1. School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA


Increasing prevalence of obesity has been shown not only in the industrially developed countries, but also in the developing countries. Obesity is represented in all age categories and in male and female populations. In adults, it is mostly accompanied by various health problems – diabetes, diseases of the cardiovascular system, dyslipidaemia, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, cholecystopathy, orthopaedic problems and limited motor ability, etc; morbidity and mortality are shown to be increased due to obesity. The health situation is worse when obesity starts during childhood. Unlike the western developed or developing economies, the situation in Asia is rather complex. The economies of countries and regions in Asia are at different phases of development. In a recent WHO report, six Asian countries – China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – are listed among the top 10 countries with the greatest prevalence of the disease. Transitions in diet and nutrition and changes in activity patterns fuel the obesity epidemic. Rapid economic development in Asia together with raised standards of living over the last three decades have resulted in increased nutrient availability to many countries in the region and also improved health facilities. There have also been marked changes in the sources of nutrients and the patterns and composition of diets. Building environments in large, urban agglomerations that reward and encourage masses of people to make lifestyle choices, may be a key factor of the current problem in Asia and the USA. Social and economic conditions influenced, mostly through nutrition and physical activity regimes, the prevalence of obesity in different ways. An effort for timely diagnosis of early stages of obesity and efficient multifaceted treatment approaches combining intervention with nutritional and physical activity regimes, along with behavioural and psychological intervention are mostly recommendable. The aim of this presentation is to document current global trends of obesity with special reference in Asian-Pacific countries from an international perspective. Current changes in physical education, diet and physical activity patterns and video clips on model school programme in physical education and health and the new direction of holistic health and physical education discussed in the recent Global Forum of Physical Education Pedagogy (GoFPEP 2010) will be used for illustration.

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