Thai Health coordinates with 16 schools to stimulate daily exercise

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BANGKOK, 11 June 2014  -The Thai Health Promotion Foundation (Thai Health) is coordinating with 16 schools to hold a ‘Walking School’ campaign, hoping to reduce students’ interaction with mobile phones. 

The campaign will generally promote more activity among youth; by walking more, students will get to exercise, and reduce sitting time, one of the major causes of obesity.

Associate Professor Dr. Vilasinee Adulyanond, Director of the office for Campaigning and Public Communication, in the Office of the Health Promotion Foundation (Thai Health) said that the foundation’s collaboration with schools was to promote daily walking by the young, as it’s the easiest way to exercise. Research findings also support the belief that if youth have regular exercise, it will bring a direct benefit to the student’s ability to learn.

The Walking School campaign is a 2-month activity running through August-September 2014 with 16 junior high and senior high schools across Bangkok participating. Thai Health has developed special equipment and mobile applications to measure students’ daily body movement and gather other information such as calorie intake, calorie burning rate, and the student’s level of exercise.

Dr. Vilasinee said that the campaign will create positive attitudes among students, parents and teachers, and make them more aware of the need for daily exercise.

Thai Health 2013 research found that Thai children (6-14 years) spend an average 13:33 hours per day sitting idle. Thai Teenagers and youth (15-24 years) spend on average 13:12 hours per day pursuing interests such as watching television, using a computer or other electronic devices. This means they are not getting the exercise that the body needs, and are at risk of becoming overweight or obese. Inactivity also reduces the time spent with other people in the community which results in a deterioration of social awareness and self esteem in the community over time.

Associate Professor Dr.Panya Khaimook, said that people nowadays lack the body movement required for good health due to the increasing significance of electronic devices in their daily lives, along with an increase in consumption of food with a high fat and energy content. Research found that in the years 2004-2009 there was a 5% increase in the number of Thais with a paunchy stomach, while there was a less than 1% increase in exercise among people. Medical specialists expect that Thais will spend more on medications due to the increase in diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, which already cost Thais as much as 200 billion Baht a year.

While experts predict that in 4 years-time, one in every 5 youths will encounter obesity, which 50-65% of adults have already experienced in their lives.

Dr.Panya hopes that this campaign organized by Thai Health and 16 participating schools, will help the young enjoy a healthy diet appropriate to their needs and a commitment to daily exercise, which will reduce the number of Thais with obesity in the future.

The 16 Participating Schools are:

1. Patumwan Demonstration School: Srinakharinwirot University

2. Suksanari School Bangkok

3. Satriwuttisuksa School

4. Nonsi Witthaya School

5. King Phet School

6. Wat Suthiwararam School

7. Ratchawinit Bang Kae Pan Kam School

8. The Demonstration School of Ramkhamhaeng University

9. Wat Nimmanoradee School

10. Rajavinit Mathayom School

11. Watsungwej School

12. Matthayom Wat Benchamabophit School

13. Triam Udom Suksa School

14. Debsirin Nonthaburi School

15. Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School

16. Saint Peter Thonburi