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Our Myopic Children – a Product of Our Lifestyle

Preventing Myopia in Singapore's Children

While driving back home after dropping my daughter off at school I was, as usual, listening to the BBC.

The announcer said they were about to air a story about myopia in Asian children and so I immediately pulled over and turned on my flashing "Park Anywhere"  lights which - as all good citizens understand - give us the inalienable right to, well, stop anywhere. Just drive your child to school one day and you will see what I mean.

Anyway the story began, and I whipped out my trusty iPhone (thanks Steve), pressed the Voice Memo icon and started recording.

Interesting indeed.

I am a bit of a sun worshipper myself. I believe sunlight cures everything. Kills germs, burns off the fog of depression, energizes the mind, produces vitamin D, gives the skin a nice tone... and other stuff like that.

So when the announcer said that the cause for high rates of myopia in children from Japan, China and Singapore was that our kids did not get enough exposure to sunlight, I was riveted. Even the honking of the drivers behind me couldn't distract me. I don't what was wrong with them, I had my "Park Anywhere" lights on.

So when the first rays of that beautiful sunlight streamed through my window this morning to wake me up, I knew that I had to get that Voice Memo file off my iPhone and into this blog so that I could share it with my readers.

Here it is, but it seems the audio won't work in Windows Media Player (thanks Steve).
(EDIT: I got it fixed, please see below)
As it happens, it doesn't matter all that much because this morning The Straights Times carried the same story. It is reproduced here. You will just miss out on that crisp BBC accent.

I did a little more Google-ing and found that there is quite a lot of evidence from experimental research which supports the study. One of them was interesting because it involved newly hatched chickens. Some were exposed to sunlight for a number of hours per day and others were kept inside with varying amounts of carefully measured light levels.

My favourite part was that one of the controls involved fitting the chicks with sunglasses. Cool chicks in sunglasses eh?

Interestingly, the sunglasses (I don't think they were REAL sunglasses), did not affect the amount of myopia the chicks suffered later on in life, but the ones exposed to sunlight avoided myopia.

How do you measure myopia in a chicken?

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Keeping Singaporean Kids Fit. Ideas for Parents & Nannies.

Keeping Singaporean Kids Fit. Ideas for Parents Nannies
Keeping Singaporean Kids Fit. Ideas for Parents Nannies

Keeping Singaporean Kids Fit. Ideas for Parents Nannies

As Singapore appears to be following western countries with growing obesity rates and more and more parents are asking how to get their kids fit. Although we have a long way to go to before we can match the west, we as parents we need watch out for the early signs of our children putting on extra weight.

Our Education Department has the right idea when they put the weight-gainers on a special exercise program. But there is only so much that can be done at school. As parents and nannies, we have the major influence in our children's lifestyle. Here are some quick tips:

Exercise: How many adults get enough? I mean really? It always seems as if there is no time. And kids are great imitators, they will happily mimic their parents sedentary evenings in front of the television. So try to exercise for at least half an hour 3 times a week. It's still not really enough, but it is a start.

When exercising you will need to do it vigorously enough to perspire and increase your heart rate. You can start by throwing a Frisbee in the park, or just playing badminton downstairs. Any exercise is good, just keep reminding yourself to keep the pace up so that it really has some effect.

If you are able to set a routine and follow it strictly for at least a few weeks, you will find that your kids will eventually start to look forward to it (expect some resistance at first).

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