Child obesity in Morocco

Obesity has become an issue in Morocco because of a change in lifestyle, especially eating habits. According to some statistics, between 15% to 20% of 4 years old children are obese. They are so because they take the same food as adults which is rich in fat and sugar. In poor families, the staple food is wheat and potatoes, which contribute to the obesity of children.

Children are introduced in early age to junk food like biscuits with their high amounts of fat and sugar. There are also parents who feel worried about their children. They see them as skinny and force or coax them to eat as much as possible.

Among the other factors is the type of cuisine that is widely available. Some of this is known to contain above the average amount of fat.

Morocco because of growing urbanisation and lack of playing grounds in the new housing areas, most children spend their time at school and at home doing little physical exercise, apart from the two hour weekly session they have at school. As in many countries around the world, there is a tendency among children, in their free time, just to surf on the internet or watch TV.

In general, child obesity will be hard to fight as long as parent aren’t aware or decisive about the food their children should have and the physical activities they should be introduced to, to have weight balance. As long as junk food like biscuits are constantly advertised on the screen, children whenever they have pocket-money will spend it just on it. This will aggravate their risk of becoming obese and make it difficult for them to have the right shape in due time.

You can listen to my contribution on BBC WHYS show which was presented on Friday , March 2nd, 2007.

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  1. BillDunc said,

    March 3, 2007 at 2:43 am

    Reading your post about obesity in children I found myself surprised that this is a problem that you have in Morocco.
    When I thought about my reaction I realised that this can only be because I have insufficient knowledge of life in your country. I realise that I am probably more prone to carrying stereoptyped views about other countries than I would have liked to admit to myself.

    What do any of us really know of the real day to day lives in each others countries? I think there is sometimes, in this modern world, a tendency for us to see “the other” in simplistic terms – and the media does not always help this. We all tend to have little mental maps that tell us things like – All Americans are loud and brash; All Germans are well organised and precise. (of course they are!)

    Such mental shorthand may sometimes capture an element of truth about another nation but oh how much rich human detail we lose in the process.

    So why was I surprised? In truth, I dont really know. The story must have butted against an inner stereotype I had of Morocco, but I can’t bring that stereotype enough to my consciousness to properly enunciate it. Perhaps I still have the film “The Maltese Falcon” rattling round in my head. (That was Morocco wasnt it?)

    In once sense its good to know that we all share the same human issues around the world.
    So – Just what are we going to do about all our fat kids?

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    March 4, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for the email.
    Concerning you comment on obesity in Morocco. It hasn’t become alarming yet among children. It’s largely common among girls. Some people in Morocco think the more a girl or a woman is fleshy, it is better. In the south of Morocco there is a tradition of “forcing”‘ obesity on girls to prepare them for marriage. Some think a skinny woman isn’t fit to be a bride.But this tradition is dying out as people are getting more aware of obesity dangers.

    Obesity is more worrying among adult population because of their eating habits and lifestyle. This is the price of modernity. More means of transport and more gadgets at home makes one too lazy to do anything to burn excessive calories.

  3. MoRocco said,

    May 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    i would never gues obesity might become a problem in morocco! US – of course, UK – yes, Europe – could be.. But Morocco?? It is true that the life style has change, but generally country is still quite traditional. This news really surprise me..

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