Muscat – In recent years, there has been a steady increase in lifestyle diseases in Oman, particularly diabetes in children, underscoring a pressing need for widespread health awareness and preventive measures. Towards this end, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued a Royal Order earlier this month for an annual budget for diabetes care in children. What else needs to be done to encourage healthy lifestyle among children? Here’s what Muscat Daily readers said –
Khalid al Balushi
This is the age of technology and we must take help from digital platforms for wellness campaigns. Engaging and informative content disbursed through social media, websites and mobile apps can reach a wide audience. Celebrities or even people of power can pass on health messages to youngsters. Embracing technology as a tool for positive change can enhance the impact of health promotion among children.
Salim al Habsi
Private sector employee
One of the easy solutions can be in encouraging healthy lifestyles that extend beyond the classroom. Voluntary services that involve parents, caregivers and local authorities play a crucial role. Organising workshops, seminars and health-focused events on lifestyle ailments and problems can also encourage sustained lifestyle changes in children.
Salman al Kindi
Every good habit starts from home or school. Education plays a crucial role in shaping children’s habits. Implementing policies that promote healthy eating options in school cafeterias by limiting the availability of sugary snacks and drinks must be made compulsory. Parents should encourage children to get out to playgrounds instead of sitting in front of the gaming console.
I feel that the best way is by investing in recreational spaces and facilities. It is important to promote physical activities among children. Public parks, sports complexes and playgrounds provide avenues for enjoyable exercise. Also, there can be sports competitions all year round. This will not only contribute to physical health but also encourage social interaction and community bonding.
Khalid al Jabri
This is alarming news and we must have more educational initiatives. Parents must be devoted to fostering a culture of healthy living among children. Spare the rod and spoil the child; parents must be strict with children about sleep time, food habits and exercising. It is important to implement educational initiatives in schools and communities. By raising awareness on the importance of balanced diets, regular exercise and the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles, we can empower the younger generation to make informed choices for their well-being.
Fitness and nutrition specialist
Children are growing up without being taught the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Basic learning and better learning always begin at school. A healthy lifestyle is associated with school camps, where educators, parents and students gather to watch videos illustrating the consequences of supporting children’s junk food addiction. Stands selling nutritious food should be available. The best students should be chosen to present presentations on nutrition and habits. Instead of medical camps, health camps should be introduced.
Encourage fun physical activities at school, as well as nutrition education for students and parents/caregivers.
Private sector employee
Ban sugary drinks, salted chips, mayonnaise in sandwiches and unhealthy cooking oils.
A lot depends on parents, as feeding starts with them. Physical fitness is closely connected to a healthy lifestyle. If a child is encouraged to participate in sports, both the parents and the child will understand that it requires a healthy diet, among other things. Therefore, this is a complex task where the role of parents is significant, and other factors like sports and school meals serve as support. Essentially, Oman needs to have more affordable sports clubs, and food in schools and kindergartens must be healthy. It would be beneficial if a budget was allocated for such initiatives.