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Study warns obesity high among Nairobi schools

The number of obese children in Nairobi schools is on the rise, a new study shows.

Research by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology reveals that 19 per cent of children in public and private schools are overweight.

As a result they are vulnerable to diabetes, heart diseases and any other complications associated with overweight, the study warns.

Private school learners were most affected with 29 per cent of them failing the obesity test. This is 11 higher than public schools.

The team of researchers led by Mrs Florence Kyallo attributes the development to a change in lifestyle as children were engage in less physical activity. They as have poor dietary habits.

“Residents of Nairobi have easy access to numerous fast food outlets, restaurants, supermarkets and sedentary recreation facilities such as television, computers and motorised transport. Children as young as five-years are introduced to this,” said the report.

A total of 344 children with an average age of 12 years formed the study population and their parents or guardians gave written consent to participate in the study. 

Fifty nine per cent of them were from public schools and the remaining from private schools.

The study also found out that most over-weight children had parents with university level education.

This, Mrs Kyallo explained was baffling as one would have thought that the category was knowledgeable on proper nutrition and the dangers of being overweight.

“There is a significant difference in obesity rates based on the occupation of mothers. For both parents, the rate was highest among children whose parents were self-employed, and lowest among children of unemployed mothers,” the report read.