Home / Health / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Nutritionists Sought to Fix Poor Diets
Adjust font size:

Shanghai is gearing up to hire an army of nutritionists to work at its schools in response to a survey that found many local school children have unbalanced diets.

The city's goal is to place nutritionists at half of its schools next year, up from the current 30 percent. Eighty percent of the schools will be covered in 2008 and all of them by 2009.

The move comes in response to the findings of a recent survey by educational authorities which found that many students in the city have poor diets.

The survey sampled 3,325 school children studying in Nanhui, Yangpu and Jing'an districts and the Pudong New Area. The survey ran from 2004 until just recently.

The survey found that students who earn low grades tend to favor fried and high-calorie foods and dislike vegetables and fruits. Many students did not get enough vitamins in their diets.

Less than 40 percent of the children drank milk on a daily basis. The percentage was even lower for children studying in the city's outskirts. About 8 percent of the children said they skipped breakfast several times a week, and their breakfasts lacked variety.

The survey found that over 10 percent of the children are either obese or too thin, and many suffer from anemia or calcium deficiency.

In reference to the findings, Cai Meiqin, a nutritionist, warned that if these children continued to have poor diets, their intelligence and memory could be impaired. "Improper eating and living habits can cause problems," she said.

She added that skipping breakfast and eating too much for dinner can cause problems for children. Breakfast and dinner should each contribute 30 percent of a day's entire caloric intake.

A lack of outdoor activities and too much time spent watching TV or sitting in front of the computer screen also affects children's eating habits, Cai said.

Shanghai has only about 100 nutritionists and many of them are not certified. Cai urged the city to train more certified nutritionists and to work out a standard diet for school children.

She also called for parents to set a good example by keeping good eating habits themselves and urged cafeteria workers to provide tastier foods.

The plan to assign nutritionists to more schools is part of the latest rounds of the city's three-year scheme to improve the health of its student population.

(China Daily December 28, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Chinese Urged to Improve Diet
- New Diet Supplement to Combat Malnutrition
- Ways to Say Goodbye to Holiday Pounds
Most Viewed >>