Now it’s autumn, a season perfect for spending time outdoors and enjoying the final days of sunshine and breeze before winter. We wish all readers good health in the cool, crisp autumn days.
This issue covers several items: a brief introduction to the Young Lives, a highlight of some interesting KIT findings on BMI (body mass index) in children, and a short profile of Dr. Ta-Chien Chan, a Research Fellow of the Center for Survey Research, RCHSS, Academia Sinica. Also, there is a guide to What I Like Most, a storybook about a girl who appreciates simple things in her life.
Coordinated out of the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, the Young Lives is a longitudinal project focusing on child poverty and inequality. As one of the studies under the network of GLORI 2.0, the Young Lives has traced 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam since 2001. From early childhood to young adulthood, information related to children’s development, education, and family life has been collected . Over two decades, a great number of articles and reports using the Young Lives data have been published, which can inform policies for dealing with difficult situations that the disadvantaged children and young people are actually facing. Interested researchers can download the Young Lives datasets from the UK Data Archive after applying for a password and signing a confidentiality agreement. Please go to https://www.younglives.org.uk/ to know more about the Young Lives.
Body Mass Index (BMI) in Children
Many people believe chubby children are healthy children. However, a study in 2018 shows that if children were obese at 3 years of age, 90% of them became overweight or obese in adolescence (for full text, see https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1803527).
According to the BMI-for-Age Table for Children and Teens issued by Taiwan’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA), a 3-year-old child with a BMI below 13.7 would be in the underweight category. A moderate BMI for a 3-year-old child ranges from 13.7 to 17.0. However, a BMI of 17.01-17.8 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 17.8 indicates obese.
The KIT data reveals that 12.72% of the KIT-36M children at 3 years old are in the obese category. What’s more, children who eat sweets every day have a higher obesity rate than those who don’t. However, the rate of obesity is lower for those who go to bed before 10 p.m. or have space near where they live for outdoor activities.
To help reduce the health risks associated with having obesity during childhood, the Taiwan Pediatric Association (TPA) encourages children and teens to keep healthy by:
- Practicing good eating habits and avoiding high-calorie food and sugary drinks.
- Participating in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activities every day, preferably for a cumulative total of 60 minutes.
- Getting adequate sleep. Children at 3-5 years old need 10-13 hours of sleep a day, including naps.
- Living in a healthy environment. In addition, parents should eat healthy food and exercise regularly in order to make themselves good role models for their children to follow.
Please visit https://www.pediatr.org.tw/people/edu_info.asp?id=45 for further details about TPA’s suggestions listed above.
About Dr. Ta-Chien Chan
Dr. Ta-Chien Chan is a Research Fellow of the Center for Survey Research, RCHSS, Academia Sinica. His academic expertise lies in health informatics, geographic information system, infectious disease epidemiology, spatio-temporal analysis, and spatial epidemiology. The KIT project significantly benefits from Dr. Chan because of his great contribution to KIT’s Click Diary system, a newly-launched online tool that allows the research team to collect the latest information on the study participants at various points of time. Such up-to-date information is very much different from the data gathered annually by the KIT formal surveys because it better reflects children’s current life patterns and recent changes and thus can deepen and widen the existing KIT data collection.
What I Like Most written by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang is a storybook about a little girl who shows appreciation for small things in her life and expresses gratitude for her mother’s support and love. Interested readers can find its English version at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1536209406), and its Chinese version is available at books.com (https://www.books.com.tw/products/0010841430). Click https://youtu.be/ofBWSkgttPg to listen to it in Chinese.