Hungary schoolkids set for regular obesity checks

August 14, 2014

Hungarian schoolchildren are set to face annual obesity tests, the latest move in sports-loving Prime Minister Viktor Orban's drive to mould a healthier population, organisers said Thursday.

From September pupils aged between 10 and 18 will undergo a compulsory annual National Fitness Test which will measure body fat ratio and eight other health parameters, a spokesperson for organising body the Hungarian Student Sport Association (MDSZ) told AFP.

Children who score poorly will be given a with one of three grades: "healthy"; "needs development"; or "needs particular development".

"The grade is meant as a guide for further steps for children, parents, and teachers," the MDSZ said.

According to MDSZ figures, up to 20 percent of certain age groups of Hungarian schoolchildren are obese. Bad diets and lack of regular exercise have caused some form of abnormalities—for example flat feet or curved spines—in over 60 percent.

The annual test is the latest in a series of wide-ranging school reforms, including daily gym lessons, introduced in 2013 by Orban, a football fanatic sometimes criticised for spending too much public money on his favourite sport.

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