BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Health (MoH) will be conducting a nationwide survey at schools to assess the habits and behaviours that may contribute to the rising rate of obesity in the country. 

The Global School Health Survey — a collaborative initiative created by the World Health Organization — will be conducted in Brunei this August this year, surveying selected students aged 13 to 17 years old. 

Dr Hjh Norol-Ehsan Hj Abd Hamid of the government’s Health Promotion Centre, said obesity among schoolchildren in Brunei has been rising at a rate of one percent per year. 

The last nationwide health survey conducted in 2014 found that 35 percent of schoolchildren aged 13 to 17 were overweight, and 17 percent were obese. 

The survey also looks into other aspects of health such as mental health, sexual behaviour and the prevalence of tobacco and drug use among students.

Dr Norol said that based on the 2014 survey, Brunei’s younger populations are at a higher risk of developing non-communicable disease such as obesity and diabetes. 

She added that the ministry continues to run awareness campaigns at schools and conducts regular health screenings for students in Year 1, 4 and 7, checking their body mass index, vision, hearing and for signs of scoliosis.