World Health Organization (WHO) stated obesity becomes global pandemic because it not only happens in developed countries but also in developing ones. The number of obese people in the world have reached 671 million people and more than 50% of them live in 10 countries, including Indonesia.
The data of Fundamental Health Research in 2013 showed Indonesian obesity prevalence in 5-12 years old children was up to 18.8 percent. The number is twice higher than the prevalence in 2010 which was up to 9.2 percent. Meanwhile, the highest overweight and obesity prevalence in 5-12 years old children happened in Jakarta which was up to 30.1 percent.
Felicia Kurniawan, a lecturer at Faculty of Medicine Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta, said obesity in children can cause various physical and mental health problems which decrease the quality of life and have high risk until they turn into adults. Almost 80% of the 10 years old children with Body Mass Index more than the 95th percentile will suffer from overweight until they turn into adults.
“The health impacts caused by obesity include feet growth disorder, sleep disorder, sleep apnea, and lack of confidence, Diabetes Mellitus, coronary heart disorder, osteoarthritis, and cancer,” said Felicia at Faculty of Medicine UGM on Wednesday during an open examination for the Doctoral Programme.
Felicia said obesity prevention and medication are easier to be done for children than adults because they are still in a growth period. Children are able to change their dietary habit and adapt compared to other age groups.
“Children are priority population in performing intervention strategy. Therefore, addressing obesity in children through school-based intervention is essential in the primary prevention, because 6-12 years old children spend most of their time at school,” said Felicia.
Defending her dissertation entitled Effectivity of SEHAT Programme on Obesity Prevention for Elementary School Students in North Jakarta, Felicia Kurniawan said SEHAT (Smart Eating and Healthy Activity) becomes one of the intervention programs to prevent obesity at school. The programme involves the parents, teachers, and students.
Basic theories used in making this health promotion model are Social Learning Theory, educational planning model, as well as health promotion by Dignan and Carr. The target of the programme is the fourth and fifth-grade students.
“The result of the research shows health promotion programme to prevent obesity in fourth and fifth-grade students requires an active role from the headmaster, teachers, and parents,” she added.