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Obesity in school-going kids (Part 2)

DR BOIMA

HEALTH ISSUES


As discussed last week, obesity has several harmful effects in children. It puts a child at risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and many other conditions and social ills.

 

And children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults. We can point fingers all we want, but let us be clear; children are suffering as a result of decisions being made for and about them. It is not the kids’ responsibility to rid themselves of a problem they are not yet old enough to fully understand.

 

What am I doing as the older sister to an obese teen, as the teacher, as a parent, and as a neighbour? It is the responsibility of everyone who lives with and makes decisions involving children like, teachers, school administrators, policymakers, and city planners who are all responsible for helping create the childhood obesity crisis, therefore they must all now be responsible for helping to eradicate it.

What parents can do?

Balance is key in helping your child maintain a healthy weight. The calories your child ingests should be balanced with the calories lost during a physical activity, bearing in mind that children are still growing and have special dietary requirements. It is high time parents stop being in denial and save their own children. Obese children should not however be put on a strict weight-reduction diet without talking with the health care provider first.

Encourage healthy eating habits
Charity begins at home! Kids are better off being taught healthy habits at a tender age so that they grow up to be health-conscious adults. Small step-wise changes is the way to go and can lead to a recipe for success!
Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products


Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products
Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein
Serve  HYPERLINK "http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/HowtoMakeaHealthyHome/Portion-Size-Versus-Serving-Size_UCM_304051_Article.jsp" reasonably sized portions


Encourage lots of water to drink especially at meal times
Exclude sugar-sweetened or fizzy beverages from the equation
Limit eating out days (fast-foods) to once in a month at least
Remove calorie-rich temptations – treats are OK in moderation, but limit high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks and replace them with small fresh fruit, dried fruits or nuts

Make favourite dishes healthier
Pick the kids’ favourite dishes and make a few modifications to them. They may taste similarly delicious while healthy too!

Encourage your kids to be physically active
Teaching your kids to understand the benefits of being physically active is vital in the fight against childhood obesity. Exercise is not only for adults! Children should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week, if not every day. Parents can set a great example by adding physical activity to their own daily routine and encouraging their children to join in. Kids should know that not only is exercise good for their bones and helping them grow strongly, but it helps with weight management and increasing their self-esteem.
 
Reduce sedentary time
Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit “screen time” (TV, video games, Internet) to no more than two hours a day lest kids turn into couch potatoes. Encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.

Support school programs

Visit child care centres or schools to see if they serve healthy foods and drinks

What can the school do?

Develop healthy school nutrition plans
Schools can do this by providing  HYPERLINK "http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/nutritionservices.htm" a quality school meal program, and offering students only  HYPERLINK "http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/standards.htm" healthy and appealing food and beverages outside of the meal program


Develop school physical activity programs
These include quality physical education, classroom physical activity breaks, recess, and opportunities for physical activity before, during, and after school
Make free drinking water available to all students
Limit the sale of sugary drinks, like sodas and juices in schools

What the community can do?

Curbing the childhood obesity epidemic requires sustained political commitment and the collaboration of many public and private stakeholders. They could work collaboratively to;
Support school programs
Create and maintain safe neighbourhoods for physical activity
Create parks and playgrounds that are easily accessible and safe
Practice responsible marketing especially those aimed at children and teenagers


NB: – The year 2010 saw the then President of the United States, Obama passing the bill and  signing off the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 into the law. This advocacy was spearheaded by the first lady Michelle Obama, who has continued to show enormous commitment to raise a healthier generation of kids in the US. The law strives to increase access to good, quality meals in school cafeterias (and ban campus junk food sales) so the nutritional needs of the youngsters are met. This should give USDA more powers and allow it to be much more effective and aggressive in responding to obesity and hunger challenges for America’s kids.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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