While on average 8.5% of first graders suffer from obesity, there are localities in the periphery and in the Arab Israeli sector where the rate is 1.5-3 times higher. The Ministry of Health has now made detailed data on the weight of children and infants accessible to the public, divided by locality and type of education system.
The data are published in the ministry's dashboard ("Data World"), which until recently was dedicated to COVID-19 data, and are intended for anyone who needs data on childhood obesity – whether for research or health promotion programs.
obesity rate in children,
A quarter (24%) of two-year-olds in Israel are overweight (18.3%) and obese (5.7%). In first grade, the rate drops, and one in five children (19.6%) is overweight (11.1%) or obese (8.5%), but the numbers rise again by seventh grade, when nearly one in three children (31.4%) is defined as overweight (17.4%) or obese (14%).
The data also show that in the Arab education system there was a 23% increase in obesity and overweight among seventh graders, while in the State-religious education system there was an increase of 4.5%. In the state education system, there was actually a decline of 2% in the extent of obesity and overweight compared to 2011, and in the Haredi education system – a decline of 3.5%.
"The Ministry of Health is committed to the issue of transparency of data to the public and making information-based decisions," says Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Director General of the Ministry of Health. "In a world in which a lot of false information is disseminated on social networks, some of which may harm public health, the new world of data from the Ministry of Health makes it possible to present reliable and transparent data to the public, in order to enable access to established information easily and quickly.
"The ministry has worked hard to improve the food environment." Moshe Bar Siman Tov (Archive), Photo: Oren Ben Hakon
"In order to treat childhood obesity, the Ministry has worked extensively to improve the food environment in various frameworks – such as food labeling, various public information measures such as campaigns to avoid sweet drinks, and updating the new national nutrition recommendations and the food spectrum for a healthy diet."
Barak Shukron, Director of the Data Division at the Ministry of Health: "We recently launched the world of data, and we continue to make new content worlds accessible, including growth indices in children and toddlers and breastfeeding data. You can see various segmentations, including trends, overweight and obesity topics geographically, underweight and underweight, segmentation by girls and boys, rates of change in indices, and more. This data is important in preventing and promoting data-based health by making additional and important information accessible."
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