Rising obesity rates among children a growing concern

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Rising obesity rates among children a growing concern
Joel Mwanja has taken to regular exercise under the tutelage of Coach Rickie

The Ministry of Health has warned parents about the risks of childhood obesity and advised them to be mindful of their children's diets and to ensure they have time for physical play to maintain their health.

Obesity among children is on the rise; according to official from the ministry of Education, primarily due to the consumption of high-sugar, fried foods, and fats.

Additionally, many children lack places to play at home and at school, leading to inactive lifestyles that contribute to weight gain.

Dr Hasfah Lukwata, assistant commissioner for mental health at the Ministry of Health, said children suffering from obesity often experience insecurity and isolation, which can lead to mental health issues and hinder their academic performance due to peer bullying.

Dr Lukwata emphasized that parents should take proactive steps to prevent obesity in their children by monitoring their diets and encouraging physical activities.

She was speaking at a meeting with the Nabagereka Fund, which is spearheading a campaign to help people avoid and combat mental illness.

"Obesity is so rampant of late and we see and the number of children who are obese is going up, a number of factors contribute to this, among which is stress,’’ Dr Luwata said.

They also met Joel Mwanja, a teenager who has suffered mental health due to peer bullying, Mwanja weighs 170kg and his size has led to various health issues.

His mother and volunteers are currently working to help him lose weight and receive treatment so he can continue his studies without being bullied by classmates.

The Minister of Education in Mengo, who is also in charge of Nabagereka’s office, Oweekitiibwa Cotilda Nakate, urged parents to care for their children's health and pledged to support efforts to help Mwanja recover from obesity.

Mwanja has gained attention on social media, with Frederick Mawanda, popularly known as Coach Rickie, trying to help him lose weight.

However, they have faced many negative comments and insults about his size, causing significant distress for Joel and his family.

His mother has struggled to explain their challenges to everyone, making the situation even more difficult for them.

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