Childhood obesity is a cause for concern around the world including Brunei Darussalam. If not prevented early, the number of obese children will continue to rise. These children will grow to be obese adults with health problems, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman said.
He was speaking as the guest of honour during the launching and handing over of the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Child Care Centres in Brunei Darussalam yesterday.
“A healthy, well-balanced and an early childhood development programme is among the important factors in improving the growth and development of a child, laying the foundation for a child to reach full potential when growing up,” he said.
The permanent secretary added that a child care centre is a place which takes care of children under the age of three, playing a vital role in shaping and influencing children’s attitude and behaviour, giving them a head start in life.
Haji Abdul Manap said with the increasing demand for child care centres, the guidelines are in line with some of the acts under the control of the Community Development Department (JAPEM) – Child Care Centres Order 2006 and Child Care Centre Regulations 2006.
“The guidelines are published according to the criteria outlined in the ASEAN Early Childhood Care, Development and Education Quality Standards in which among them are the basic quality of care, development and education of early childhood to ensure the safety of children, physical care, mental and health that are appropriate according to their age and development,” he added.
The permanent secretary added, “With the increasing numbers and needs of child care centre services in the country, the quality of the services on security, health and development of the children should always be taken into account.”
He said current rules and regulations are among the aspects needed to be adhered to in providing quality facilities and services to children sent to child care centres.
“Therefore, the grading of child care centres is one of the initiatives that can be taken to ensure that the centres have excellent quality and safety standards. Grading measures will enable our child care centres to be competitive in striving to provide the best possible quality and services to attract customers, thus creating a conducive environment for children’s development,” he said.
Haji Abdul Manap also urged stakeholders to continue to work with JAPEM and MoH in realising the initiative and to produce high quality child care centres.
He also requested operators of all centres to attend workshops to find out more about the guidelines and ensure they are implemented effectively.