Obesity Rates in Children on the Rise in Indonesia

Obesity rates amongst youth in Indonesia is on the rise and is likely to result in more cases of non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes, studies suggest.

According to data recently released by the Health Ministry, the prevalence of obesity has increased from 18.8 to 26.6 percent over ten years. This was echoed by research carried out by Indonesian physician from the University of Sydney, Cut Novianti Rachmi; he found that while the prevalence of undernutrition among young children in Indonesia had decreased over the past 14 years, more children in the country were becoming overweight.

A study by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) released in July also found that there has been a threefold increase in obesity among youths and young adults of developing, middle-income states such as Indonesia.

Furthermore, the study also suggests that obesity among youths could lead to “…a high cumulative incidence of type-2 diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease”.

The prediction corresponds with the opinion of nutrition professor at Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), Soekirman, who warned that overnutrition would raise the number of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases like hypertension, heart problems, diabetes and kidney failure.

“If the government does not implement any preventive policies, the BPJS will go bankrupt because it must cover these ‘rich people’ diseases,” said Soekirman, as quoted by The Jakarta Post.

The causes, according to Indonesian Pediatricians Association (IDAI), are the unhealthy lifestyle choices parents and children make that includes higher consumption of processed food, lack of physical exercise and higher amounts of screen time. “Parents must take responsibility. The government must also make tougher policies on advertisements of [unhealthy] food and beverages,” said IDAI head Piprim Basarah.

 

Featured image by the Huffington Post.

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.


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