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More kids showing signs of premature aging

26 Comments

Myopia. Fatty liver. Lumbago. High blood pressure due to obesity. Skeletal problems.

Yes, as the petals are plucked from our flower of youth, these are among the multitude of complaints of encroaching middle age. The problem, says Spa (Sept 20-27), is that they're occurring with increasing frequency among young children.

Today's kids, it seems, have been hit by a double whammy. The first is the ongoing march of digitalization; the second, two and a half years of forced stay-ins due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, children's physical development has become stunted.

"Over the past three months, more than half the injuries incurred by kids at our school have been bone fractures," an elementary school teacher in metropolitan Tokyo tells the magazine. 

A childcare worker observed, "The other day, a little girl on her way to kindergarten who had become obese due to coronavirus restrictions stumbled and fell. She suffered an avulsion fracture."

Dr Shohiro Hayashi, head of an orthopedic clinic in Saitama City and director of the "Stop the Locomo" conference, said he had observed an increase in locomotive disorders such as joint pain and difficulty in walking -- typically found in the elderly -- among children from around 10 years ago.

"A survey of Saitama schoolchildren found that indications of encroaching locomotive syndrome were observed in some 40% of the subjects. The coronavirus pandemic has aggravated this situation. Over the past half century, the number of children who fall and suffer fractures has more than doubled," he said.

Recently Dr Hayashi treated a 5-year-old patient for lumbago.

"Kids sit hunched over, tapping on their smartphones, causing them to develop a stooped posture with their jaws thrust outward. Poor posture habits like these have been a major factor in locomotive syndrome among children," he noted.

While one hour a day of physical activity is considered desirable, even when that's not possible problems can be avoided by nurturing proper posture.

Yet another problem has been deteriorating vision.

"Before entry into primary school, my son was found to have severe myopia. The eyeglasses he wears look like the bottoms of cola bottles," the father of a boy in second grade tells the magazine.

The boy's ophthalmologist had recommended the time he spent on a tablet computer be drastically reduced as without early countermeasures he might risk developing glaucoma later in life.

More children are also developing symptoms resembling presbyopia, difficulty in viewing small items close up, as is usually seen from middle age.

"Staring at a smartphone screen causes them to blink less frequently and they develop dry eye. We are seeing a rise in cases of sumahon rogan (smartphone presbyopia) from early ages," says Edogawa-ku based physician Rui Hiramatsu.

"Health ministry data indicates the number of children with vision tested at below 1.0 (the level that usually requires corrective lenses) has been rising year by year," he added. "Among middle-school students, that figure has reached 60%."

To protect children's vision, Hiramatsu recommends children take a break after every 30 minutes of smartphone use, and "ideally" spend two hours a day out-of-doors.

Locomotion and eyesight are by no means the only concerns.

"When conducting free-of-charge physical exams for children, in about half the cases, we have found fatty liver at levels like men in their 40s, said Yokohama-based gastrointestinal specialist Tsuyoshi Sogo. "This will make them vulnerable to various liver problems and hardening of the arteries. I have also treated a child in his early teens for gout."

Sogo's advice is to force kids to get off their butts and move, or risk an early onset of the ravages of middle age.

"Proactive steps should include improving of their basic diet and sufficient exercise," he recommends. "As a rule of thumb, I suppose they should walk the equivalent of 20,000 paces per day."

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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The other day, a little girl on her way to kindergarten who had become obese due to coronavirus restrictions stumbled and fell.

The harm caused by the lockdowns and school closures are starting to take their toll.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

The harm caused by the lockdowns and school closures are starting to take their toll.

Lockdowns and school closures were never a solution without downsides, from the very beginning they were a last resort measure made to prevent an even worse health care problem.

Another thing is that no coronavirus restrictions required lack of exercise or deficient nutrition to be done. Plenty of guidance was provided for families to help ensure the children could keep a healthy lifestyle even without going to school (which is strange because doing it should not have depended on the school in the first place). The actual problem is that for parents it is much easier not to follow the guidance and just pretend there is no problem. Letting children spend hours on a screen is just the most obvious way this problem obviously is caused by lack of proper parental attention, not restrictions.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Lockdowns and school closures were never a solution without downsides, from the very beginning they were a last resort measure made to prevent an even worse health care problem.

Sweden never imposed draconian lockdowns and instead essentially followed the focused protection model.

Locking down children, danger taping playgrounds and replacing the classroom with 8 hours of iPad screen time was wrong.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Our young students are not like those mentioned in the article.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

BroncoToday  08:08 am JST

Sweden never imposed draconian lockdowns and instead essentially followed the focused protection model.

Locking down children, danger taping playgrounds and replacing the classroom with 8 hours of iPad screen time was wrong.

Excellent points.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Sweden never imposed draconian lockdowns and instead essentially followed the focused protection model.

Because they choose to bet in the obedience of the population and the specific situation that made spreading less likely, not all countries had that luxury, Japan never imposed "draconian lockdowns" either but it did not go as well.

Locking down children, danger taping playgrounds and replacing the classroom with 8 hours of iPad screen time was wrong.

Do you have any actual scientific information to prove it? something that takes into account the risk at the point where not much was known about the disease and their effect on children's health? because just saying something has negative consequences is a long way from saying it was wrong to do it, after all it was perfectly possible the opposite to be true and health care authorities do not usually follow baseless advice from nameless people on the internet to decide on which side to risk the health of the public.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

The illnesses described are not signs of ageing, but poor health. They are not inevitable in older people.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Something else is going on here, something that keeps kids indoors and away from healthy physical activity, and most of it involves slavery to a screen

Perhaps slavery to a screen, but I guess lack of access to outdoor playing spaces could also be an issue. I'd be interested to know whether there was any data on such access. I'm thinking of when I was young and we'd play outside on the street after school. That's not generally approved of these days.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I very much doubt some of the named correlations and wrongly concluded causalities.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Let’s see what three years ( when will they come off? ) of mask wearing has done to them as well. Our biological imperative to connect through facial cues and gestures ripped away. We shall see within the decade the results.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Children’s lives devastated by draconian lockdowns in many nations. One size fits all solutions do not work. It was known after a few months that the highest risk were obese who already had health issues and the elderly.

We as older members of society are meant to protect the children at all costs, not make them suffer for ou protection.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The problem is not just premature aging, but also sudden deaths (not from covid) that have been observed world wide.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NCGO9kuYM0M

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Let’s see what three years ( when will they come off? ) of mask wearing has done to them as well.

Small children where this is more important are not even recommended to wear masks, nor is anybody while in their own houses, why would damage would be a default conclusion? after all is not like whole cultures have not face coverings from before.

One size fits all solutions do not work.

Since anti covid measures are not one size fits all that would be an invalid criticism, every country used what measures were available in the degree it was necessary to prevent deaths as much as possible, if anything you can discuss specific cases where the measures were not scientifically supported, but doing it in general would be exactly what your are criticizing in the first place.

We as older members of society are meant to protect the children at all costs, not make them suffer for ou protection.

Do you have any evidence that the measures actually caused more damage than what they prevented? specially when the problems identified in the article do not depend on the measures and some countries have successfully used measures without causing them?

The problem is not just premature aging, but also sudden deaths (not from covid) that have been observed world wide.

The problem is not just premature aging, but also sudden deaths (not from covid) that have been observed world wide.

Sudden death by cardiac problems have been a serious complication from covid that is well described, why give importance to the problem and then eliminate the primary cause that has driven the number of cases recently?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Painkiller Sept 25

BroncoToday  08:08 am JST

Sweden never imposed draconian lockdowns and instead essentially followed the focused protection model.

Locking down children, danger taping playgrounds and replacing the classroom with 8 hours of iPad screen time was wrong.

Excellent points.

Well said and totally excellent. I always knew you never believed in China zero covid.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

My vision improved after I stopped reading news on my iPhone on the train, and started jogging and walking more outside. The eye muscles get a balanced workout repeatedly refocusing on objects at far distances.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How about looking at the physical conditions of all those Hispanic children kidnapped and placed in those filthy concentration camps for three years and see what conditions they're in?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Kids don't "become obese due to the coronavirus epidemic." They become obese by eating unhealthy food and snacking. Also, kids havn't been prevented from playing outside since the very beginning of the epidemic.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese lockdowns weren't that strict. Just our own experience, but the kids were still allowed to go outside and to go to school and do PE. Sports played outside continued pretty much as normal, and was only indoor ones like my son's volleyball that got affected with (public run) sports halls closing.

Video games have been around for 40 years, so any "screens" component will be smartphones. I think the big change here is diet. Japanese now eat way more meat, not fish and vegetables which are increasingly unaffordable. My guesstimate is that fish has almost doubled in past twenty years. Meat is up too, but only 30% or so. In that time, wages have gone from 900 yen an hour to 1000 yen an hour.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Australian cities had far more serious lockdowns than anywhere in Japan did, and yet there have been no reports of significant increases in child obesity due to those lockdowns, let alone hysterical attributions of increased bone fragility in children. The article states perfectly clearly that that particular problem has been increasing every year for the past fifty years, and that the increase in problems with vision also pre-dates Covid. Something else is going on here, something that keeps kids indoors and away from healthy physical activity, and most of it involves slavery to a screen, whether that screen is small or large.

Excellent point. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that most Aussie homes have decent gardens for kids to play in.

We bought our house last year because I feared more SOEs would trap my kids in a tiny mansion. I made sure we had a decent garden (by japanese standards- not so by western one) and I converted the one tatami room we had into a dojo where I continue to teach my kids martial arts to this day. Our bedroom has been essentially converted into a gym with a full home gym and a pull up bar for the kids on the door frame and 2 different benches for them to do sit ups on.

There is a lot you can do if you think outside the box.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The standard of nutrition in Japan has got worse and worse. It is all huge portions, fatty, sugary junk food. The emphasis is not on health, or traditionally healthy Japanese dishes, but on outlandish and health destroying junk foods. Add to that mask wearing which makes exercise uncomfortable at best, and all the lockdowns and school shutdowns, and of course children are at risk. Im lucky mine is very athletic and slim, and has no interest in eating junk food at all. The entire family is vegan, and we rarely eat processed food. Keep on with those huge bacon burgers and vast vats of sugar that pass as starbucks 'drinks' and we will see more and more of these awful consequences.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

BroncoSep. 25  08:08 am JST

Locking down children, danger taping playgrounds and replacing the classroom with 8 hours of iPad screen time was wrong.

Right on.

Do you have any actual scientific information to prove it? something that takes into account the risk at the point where not much was known about the disease and their effect on children's health? 

Just reading the article we see the medical doctor's quote:

Poor posture habits like these have been a major factor in locomotive syndrome among children," he noted.

And then we have actual scientific information that proves this:

 The containment measures adopted throughout several countries caused multiple public places such as schools and malls to close. This led to less human interaction and also to a rise of stress and anxiety in the face of an unknown new pandemic, eventually culminating in helplessness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336433/

compared to adults, this pandemic may continue to have increased long term adverse consequences on children and adolescents 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7444649/

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Just reading the article we see the medical doctor's quote:

Poor posture habits like these have been a major factor in locomotive syndrome among children," he noted.

And this is something that has been happening from before the pandemic, it does not required for any of the measures used against it and definitely it does not say it makes the reduction of risk from covid obtained from the measures unjustified. That is what was asked in the text you quoted, so you answered nothing of what was required.

And then we have actual scientific information that proves this:

Another source where the negative effects are unquantified, includes direct effects from the pandemic instead of the measures, do not say the measures are unjustified and explicitly says the solution is better mental health, not the suspension of measures.

If you are going to comment exclusively to contradict comments I make you should at least make an effort to understand the topics, you are not contradicting at all my points, if anything you are contradicting yourself much more, and apparently are now deeply against the Chinese lockdowns.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And according to the source, it is something that is happening at a higher frequency as a result of measures taken in reaction to the pandemic.

Without any need for it to be so, if a problem was present before, there are locations where it did not become more important even with the measures and it has been increasing even on places without those measures then obviously the cause is different, you have not argued agains these arguments.

You have not contradicted anything the medical source revealed, and instead show you did not understand the article.

Me and several other commenters have absolutely so because of the arguments already exposed, your excuse that other people do not understand the article is just something you want to use to avoid arguing against the very clear facts that disproves the conclusion. You are completely free to give up arguing because you understand you are wrong, but not to pretend the arguments have not been debunked already.

Let's see---a quantifiable medical source providing factual information, versus an anonymous internet poster's attempt to divert from the reality of either a lack of understanding of the topic, or a failure to even read it.

Facts that contradict the conclusions are not "lack of understanding" as you argue, if anything it is you who failed to understand how the evidence around the world clearly contradicts the conclusion that is not supported by evidence either. Can you present evidence that no country without lockdowns have this problem? or that every country with them had the same worsening? because if not, then it is you who lacks the necessary evidence.

This article is written by a Japanese medical doctor, and the sources I supplied are written by medical doctors; 

None of the sources provide evidence of a causal relationship, nor for the problem to be an inevitable consequence of the measures (much less prove an increase of risk above the benefits provided).

neither (of which both are real medical professionals) mention China

But since you apparently now support the opinion that lockdowns are bad for the public health it is an inevitable consequence that you do so also in China, the same logic and arguments apply, so you are now contradicting yourself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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