Dr. Vincent Onywera was interviewed today by the Daily Nation about a recent study:
Kenyan children and youth are walking less and eating more junk food. As a result they are growing fatter, lazier and more sickly than their peers a few generations back.
This is the worrying message from a new study highlighting what students do between the end of the school day and before dinner.
It warns that Kenyan children are at a higher risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases such diabetes because they are barely engaged in physical activity.
The study by Kenyatta University researchers blames this on parents’ predilection for technological gadgets that ensure their children spend very little energy on domestic chores and entertainment.
The lead researcher, Dr Vincent Onywera of Kenyatta University, says there are many energy-saving devices around children; who are also eating more unhealthy foods. This is turning them into junkies and dummies before puberty.
The study shows that children from rural areas are more physically active than their urban counterparts, with a mean average of 14,700 steps compared to their urban peers’ 11,717.
Top on the list of after school activity was watching television at grade A, followed by physical activity at grade B. The latter implies children have taken to sedentary lifestyles, which predispose them to preventable diseases associated with being obese, overweight and stunted growth.
“The urban children are more sedentary, rely less on active transportation and accrue daily step counts than their rural counterparts. Overall, studies suggest that Kenyan children in urban areas are being exposed to more ‘obesogenic’ lifestyles,” Dr Onywera said.
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