SIBU: The Special Olympics (SO) Sarawak will implement a weight loss programme for its athletes as one of the main items in its agenda next year.
Yesterday, its president Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah highlighted the overweight problem faced by SO Sarawak athletes, especially among children with Special Needs.
“In fact, a member of SO Sarawak paediatrician Dr Toh Teck Hock has found that during one of our programmes, 60 per cent of our athletes are obese or overweight.
“We can understand why our children with Special Needs tend to be overweight because of lack of physical activities.
“They sit a lot and tend to over-eat,” she told a press conference after chairing SO Sarawak 13th annual general meeting here yesterday.
Fatimah, who is also the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, pointed out culture or way of life as another reason for overweight problem among the children.
She said the children were sometimes over-fed by their parents who did so as a way to show their affection.
“Some of the special needs children had limited ability to move, for example if they are blind or physically disabled, and such factors hindered them from doing physical activities.
“So there is a tendency to be overweight.
“So the way forward for 2018 for Special Needs children, especially those registered under SO Sarawak is the weight loss programme,” she added.
She said a weight loss programme done by SO Sibu chapter earlier had showed encouraging results whereby a participant who was announced as the winner lost nine kilogrammes through proper diet and physical activities during the six-month programme.
“I would also urge parents with special needs children to monitor their children’s activities and body weight to prevent obesity.
“Obesity can cause other ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and heart problems,” she warned.
Other activities for SO Sarawak next year include a membership drive and preparation for sporting events such as SO Borneo Cup and SO Games at state, national and world levels.