Korean Kids Get Fatter on Ramen, Fast Food

More Korean kids are getting fatter and less healthy from eating instant noodles and fast foods at least once a week, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The Korean government surveyed 19,400 students at 749 schools and learned that 75.6 percent of grade schoolers, 85.4 percent of middle schoolers and 77.7 percent of high schoolers eat instant noodles once a week or more.

To add to their rising weights and declining health levels, 49.9 percent of pupils in elementary school, 56.8 percent in middle school, and 60.2 percent in high school eat fast food once or more per week.

The health and weight problem are compounded by the fact that vegetables don’t figure in the daily diets of 31.7 percent of grade schoolers, 26.7 percent in middle schoolers and 25 percent in high schoolers. And kids tend to skip breakfast more as they get older, rising from 4.8 percent in grade school, 10.6 percent in middle school and 14.3 percent in high school.

Obese kids (i.e. those who weigh 20 percent more than the standard weight for their height) grew from 11.2 percent in 2008 to 13.2 percent in 2009. Kids who are morbidly obese rose from 0.8 percent to 1.1 percent.

The increase of height of sixth-grade boys seems to be leveling off. It rose from 150.2 cm in 2008 to 150.5 cm.

Bad eyesight was found in 46.2 percent of kids. The percentage suffering from skin problems rose to 3.6 percent in 2009 from only 0.6 percent in 1999.

Serious physical activity is engaged in by only 1.9 percent of grade schoolers, 9.2 percent of middle schoolers, and 7.4 percent of high schoolers.

Students are getting less sleep with age. Only 7.2 percent sleep less than six hours a night in grade school. That increases to 11.5 percent in middle school and a whopping 42 percent in high school.