Fighting obesity while having fun

We have a BIG problem. Literally. Over 5.5 million Malaysian or 30.6% of our population are obese. And childhood obesity stands at 30%.

No wonder the World Health Organization claimed that childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.

So, yeah, it's a pressing issue of our generation.

Obesity in children happens for complex reasons. Obese children have an increased risk of cardiovascular risk factors, respiratory comorbidities and developing type 2 diabetes.

Childhood obesity also causes social and psychological problems like negative stereotypes, peer rejection, teasing and discrimination which linked to negative self-image, low self-esteem and even depression.

Furthermore, research also suggests that obesity continues from childhood to adulthood.

Other than focusing on food, I think we should consider increasing physical activity in schools. The overwhelming majority of pupils said they enjoyed some sport or physical activity they did at school.

Recent studies by The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) UK also shows football was
both the most commonly offered and most likely to be named as a favourite physical activity in schools.

What's the second most popular activity with pupils? Drum roll, please. Dodgeball!

I am the president of MDF (Malaysia Dodgeball Federation). Implementing physical activities can be expensive. Swimming needs access to a pool and cycling needs bicycles. Others require expensive infrastructures and equipment.

However, tight funding need not always be a barrier. Dodgeball is a fun and cheap activity. All you
need for dodgeball is some space that can be marked out and some foam balls.

I'm sure the Ministry of Education can implement my suggestion in a jiffy. Besides, dodgeball is a physical activity for everyone. Even parents can play. Let's fight obesity together.

Our dodgeball teams were at the World Cup finals in New York early this month. Out of 65 nations, Malaysia ranked second in the world. Yay!!!

If our kids can start playing in every schools, I'm sure by the time dodgeball becomes an Olympic event, we might get that 1st elusive gold medal.

So, let's play ball! Dodgeball!

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