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September 27, 2013 : Sri Lanka: Need of child-support centres island-wide to address rising child-related Health concerns

Urgent  Need for Child support Centers to address island-wide rising child- related health concerns

Some children come from broken families; some suffer from lack of confidence due to obesity, while exam stress and poverty are other issues. Negligence and lack of attention from parents is common among children from affluent and working-parents families,” Medical Officer of the Health Ministry’s School Health Office, Dr. Chintha Karunaratne  tell Education Times.

Dr. Karunaratne said that, among other mental illnesses are depression, anxiety disorder and eating disorder. According to her, bullying prevails in Colombo schools, while Health officers have also received complaints of poor concentration, aggressive behaviour and constant sleepiness.

“We refer students of such nature for psychiatric treatment or counselling,” she added.

Dr. Karunaratne said that, among other mental illnesses are depression, anxiety disorder and eating disorder. According to her, bullying prevails in Colombo schools, while Health officers have also received complaints of poor concentration, aggressive behaviour and constant sleepiness

She said schoolchildren between the ages of 9 and 12 suffer from malnutrition.

“In the first two years, parents ensure their child has breakfast before leaving for school. Then poor dietary habits creep in from Grade 4. Many children skip breakfast and during the morning tea break (interval) have a substitute breakfast, but not a healthy one,” she said.

The School Health Office examined children from 114 Colombo schools. They noticed an increase in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cholesterol among the children.

“Over nutrition is another serious issue among children, especially from leading schools within Colombo city limits. This is not only based on meals they have at school, but also at home and outside. Fast food and items such as pasta and fried rice that contain more carbohydrates and fat are contributing to obesity among children, while intake of green leaves and vegetable salads are decreasing” Dr. Karunaratne said.

“Child support centres should also provide counselling for children suffering from obesity,” she added.

Apart from the dental checkup and eye test, the School Health Office also provides nutritional supplement thriposha, iron supplements and worm treatment. Schoolchildren are also given diet plans, recommended with exercises, and advise both children and parents on Child Health concerns.

 

Reference: The Sunday Times