BANGKOK: Thailand’s Health Ministry said almost 10 per cent of children in the country are clinically obese, and warned that the situation is expected to get worse if parents and teachers fail to improve nutritional awareness among the young.

According to the ministry’s Health Data Centre, 9.1 per cent of kids aged 0 to 5 years old are considered overweight for their age, with that proportion rising to 13.4 per cent in 6 to 14-year-olds and 13.2 per cent in the 15 to 18 category, according to Vietnam news agency (VNA).

The World Obesity Federation has forecast that rates of childhood obesity are expected to double between 2020 and 2035.

A report on Thai children’s diets discovered that a third consume sweet snacks and beverages every day, and almost 30 per cent are permitted to select food based purely on their own preferences.

Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, head of the Department of Health, said youngsters are exposed to an overabundance of food containing unhealthy levels of fat, sugar and salt.

He suggested parents and schools should teach them how to select good food and what consequences a poor diet can pose to their health. -Bernama