Research Reveals A Worrying Issue Affecting Private School Pupils.
The recently conducted research reveals worrying issues affecting private school pupils in the country.
New research indicate that children who attend private schools are more likely to be affected by obesity and weight-related issues compared to those in public schools.
According to the research, among other reasons for obesity especially among pupils in private schools include use of school bus transport and reduced Physical Exercise (PE) lessons.
In Kakamega County, research was conducted last year by researchers from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust), private schools put more emphasis on performance ignoring co-curricular activities.
On the other hand public school pupils are less obese due to the fact that they walk to and from school on daily basis.
The research lso indicate that pupils from private schools come from rich families and the spend much of their time while at home watching TV besides playing video games compared to their public school counterparts who spend thier time playing outside.
Another big contributor to obesity among private school pupils was meals. Obese and overweight students ate more meals per day and the meals featured more carbohydrates and high in fats including chips, sausages, burgers and pizzas.
“The more the meals consumed in a day, the higher the levels of obesity and the more the amount of carbohydrates and fats consumed, the higher the levels of obesity,” said Micky Olutende, one of the researchers alongside Dr Issah Kweyu and Prof Edwin Wamukoya from the department of Health Promotion and Sports Science and Dr Maximilla Wanzala from the department of Public Health.
Olutende explained that private school pupils consume a lot of food in a day, particularly fat and sugars, but do not burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity as most schools had scrapped physical education from their timetables.
Dr Kweyu noted that pupils in private schools watched more TV as their parents have employed house helps while they watch TV or play computer games while snacking. They eventually develop obesity or overweight due to the lifestyle.
Majority of the pupils who were physically fit, the distance between home and the schools were short and enjoyed each other’s company as they walked to school and back. They were mainly from public schools and actively involved in physical activities.
Dr Wanzala noted that pupils from private schools had access to more meals both at home and in school.
The researchers said that obesity among pupils in Kakamega was also on the rise and this predisposes them to chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, hypertension and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Some were also at risk of pre-diabetes-where blood sugar is above normal, but one doesn’t have the disease yet.
The results were made public during the 15th International Multi-disciplinary Virtual Conference held last week at Mmust.
The study aimed at determining the prevalence and risk factors for obesity among school aged children in both private and public schools.