Children’s vision weaker, dental condition improves

According to a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology survey of school children’s health statistics, published Thursday, the portion of students in the nation’s elementary, junior high, and high schools with 20/20 vision or worse has increased to the highest level ever.

According to the survey, 31.5% of elementary school students have 20/20 vision or less, and their share seems to increase when they grow older, as the percentage increases to 54.63% in junior high, and 65.98% in high school children.

The Ministry analysis concluded that the reason is because “smart phones and TV games have become so popular that many children are used to seeing everything from a close distance.”

The portion of obese children increased slightly from the year before, however, the rate has been in decline for a long time. The Ministry figures show that about 12.5 percent of junior high school children in Okinawa are obese, which is the highest rate in the nation.

Fewer students also have cavities and their percentage of the student population is at the lowest level ever. Ministry officials think the reason is improved lifestyles.

37.5% of junior high, and 49.2% of high school students have cavities that is three percentage points less than last year. Children in kindergartens and elementary schools had the least cavities ever.

A new category of “conditions of limbs” was added to the survey that reflects the condition of the children’s body overall. The rate of students who have problems was 0.28% in kindergarten, 1.83% in elementary, 3.43% in junior high, and 2.46% in high school.