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A Multi-dimensional Plan to Improve Children's Health in Korea
Detail: The Korean government plans to manage children’s health by preventing environmental disease, controlling computer game addiction and obesity, tightening quality regulation on foods, and systemizing health management.

The plan put forth by the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development, an advisory body to the president, will regulate computer game playing time for children aged 12 or younger by making game makers to include a program to enable parents to control the time usage. When a child plays a game for more than a certain amount of time a day, a screen will appear advising the user to stop. According to the commission, around 2.6 percent of children in that age group are highly likely to become addicted to games and the Internet.

The plan will also regulate children’s dietary habits by regulating the airing of TV or radio commercials of potato chips, hamburgers or fried chicken during children's programs. Other measures will include providing children from low-income families with free subsidiary vouchers worth 57,000 won to exchange for nutrients, banning installation of soft drink vending machines within a 200 meter radius around a school in school zones, making it mandatory for schools to provide a healthy diet and enforce exercise for overweight children after classes, financially supporting schools to buy lunch materials from local farmers, providing alternative meals to students allergic to dairy or bean products, and banning transfat in children's food by 2010. An asthma alert system will be created to provide information on air quality for children suffering from respiratory diseases. Parents with children suffering from asthma will be provided with grants to buy special milk for their children.

The Ministries of Environment, Health and Welfare, Information and Communication and seven others will manage and renew the project every five years. The project is however disputed as it allegedly requires 527.6 billion won, whereas the government has only secured 63.4 billion won. This multi-dimensional plan to improve Korean children’s health and well-being will come into effect from January 1, 2008.

Source: By Bae Ji-sook, Korea Times, September 12, 2007 Wednesday
Date: September 22 2007