Childhood obesity has become a significant problem for Hong Kong. According to the statistics from the Student Health Service of the Department of Health, the prevalence of childhood obesity amongst primary one students rose from 11.3% in school year 1996/97 to 17.1% in 2008/09. Although the proportion has slightly decreased, it remained at a considerable level of 11.8% in 2015/16. The numbers are saying that the problem existed even before children entered primary school. Research findings also showed that there was a tendency for overweight or obese children to remain obese during adulthood. The situation is causing considerable health concern because childhood obesity is associated with higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, etc.
As stated in a report published by the World Health Organization in 2002, childhood obesity and many chronic diseases were attributed to unhealthy dietary habits and inadequate physical activity with a sedentary lifestyle. To promote healthy growth of children, prevention of obesity is important and should begin early in life. In this regard, efforts should be made to help preschool children cultivate healthy living attitudes and habits to guard against behavioural risk factors for excessive weight gain.
Children are subject to influence by parents during early childhood. Hence, parents should act as positive role models for their kids. Other than the home, schools also play an important role for as many as 180,000 preschoolers to learn about knowledge and attitude towards healthy living.