Stuck indoors, Fukushima children have highest obesity rates

Original story from The Asahi Shimbun, December 26, 2012

Children in Fukushima Prefecture have the highest obesity rates in Japan in seven age groups, education ministry statistics showed, a possible result of the restrictions on outdoor activities due to lingering fears of radiation. The ministry’s preliminary statistics released Dec. 25 were based on 4.9 percent of all reports of health checkups in schools across Japan between April and June 2012. Obese children, who are defined as those weighing at least 20 percent more than the standard weights defined by age and height, accounted for 2.39 percent of all 5-year-olds in Japan. But they accounted for 4.86 percent of 5-year-olds in Fukushima Prefecture, the highest rate in Japan. The prefecture also had the highest obesity rates for children aged 6, 7, 8, 9, 14 and 17. Officials at the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education noted that schoolchildren’s outdoor activities have been restricted since the tsunami on March 11, 2011, crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

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