New Chinese dietary guidelines for children released amid overweight concerns
Liu Tianwen
Schoolchildren learn about food nutrition in class, Zaozhuang City, east China's Shandong Province, May 20, 2022. /CFP

Schoolchildren learn about food nutrition in class, Zaozhuang City, east China's Shandong Province, May 20, 2022. /CFP

The nutrition and health status of schoolchildren in China have greatly improved over the years, but some challenges, such as overweight and obesity, remain.

Nearly 20 percent of schoolchildren are overweight or obese, Professor Ma Guansheng of the School of Public Health, Peking University, said, citing the latest data.

"Overweight and obese children are at greater risk for chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and dyslipidemia. So, we have to stop the rise in overweight and obesity among children," Ma said.

Dietary guidelines for children released

Chinese School-age Children Dietary Guidelines were released on Friday, Chinese Student Nutrition Day (May 20), alongside an updated version of the national Chinese Dietary Guidelines, providing dietary guidance for children between 6 and 17.

The document includes new sections on promoting nutrition literacy and the cultivation of healthy eating behaviors. It lists the following five core principles of nutrition for schoolchildren:

Actively participate in food selection and preparation to improve nutrition literacy.

Eat a good breakfast, choose proper snacks and develop healthy eating behaviors.

Drink milk and adequate water every day; no sugared beverages or alcohol

More outdoor activities with over 60 minutes of medium-to-high-intensity physical activity daily; reduce screen time.

Monitor physical development regularly to maintain appropriate weight growth.

How to cultivate good habits during online classes 

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, some students take classes online and eat more meals at home. So, what should parents pay attention to?

Yang Yuexin, director of the Chinese Nutrition Society, said, "First, it's important to develop children's good habits during this period, so every parent should do their best to arrange three meals a day in order to cultivate good behavior and a balanced diet. Second, since children spend much more time looking at screens when taking online classes, so be sure to give them more time for outdoor activities."

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