Asian Pacific Journal of Disease Management
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Dietary Education for Children as a Strategy for Prevention of Lifestyle-Related Diseases
Hirokuni Negishi
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Volume 1 (2007) Issue 4 Pages 107-115

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Abstract

Increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases such as type II diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hypertension has a large economic and fiscal impact on the nation's healthcare system in Japan and many other developed and newly industrializing countries. There are several causes of the increase in these diseases, and one of the major causes is obesity, which is associated with people's diet. Diet and eating habits depend largely upon the culture and environment of the country where people are brought up. Eating habits, which are mainly established in childhood, often decide the person's lifetime eating habits and preference for food. Given that many lifestyle-related diseases are associated with diet, it is obvious that the nation's providing children with dietary education is indispensable for prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. In Japan, obesity rates among school children have been rising currently. The proved fact that obesity in childhood tracks into that in adulthood suggests that dietary education to prevent childhood obesity is important. It is effective to reduce energy intake from fat in meals and to increase proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in fat intake in preventing arteriosclerosis and hypertension. Thus, it is apparent that traditional Japanese meals are ideal. It is important to reduce salt intake for prevention of hypertension. Meanwhile, it requires some efforts to improve taste of law salt food in cooking. Nationwide strategy of establishing healthful eating habits in childhood is indispensable for prevention of lifestyle-related diseases of all generations. Children spend long periods of time in such a comparatively small and mutually influential community as schools and local communities. It is told that custom, behavior, and even obesity and certain diseases spread among people in such interconnected social networks. Given this, it is emphasized that dietary education provided at education sites such as elementary and junior high schools is very important as a strategy to prevent future prevalence of lifestyle-relate diseases in the country.

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