Title: Fukushima children getting fat due to lack of outdoor activities
Date: Dec. 25, 2012
Children in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture are getting fatter due to a lack of outdoor exercise over fears of radiation exposure, the government said Tuesday in its school health report.
The preliminary report, released by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, showed an increase in the share of children from kindergarten to senior high school level, who weighed 20 percent more than the standard accorded to their height.
In Fukushima, 449 schools, or 56 percent of public schools, restricted outdoor activities during school time as of June last year due to concerns over radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi complex. Such restrictions were still maintained at 71 elementary and junior high schools as of September this year, according to the prefectural education board. [...]
Even though many schools and playgrounds have been “decontaminated”, the surrounding mountains and land have not. Parents are worried about their children playing outside as it has already been documented that because of wind, rain and other factors, the radiation levels in areas that had been previously deemed “decontaminated” are already beginning to rise again.
Ms. Tomita allowed me to run, jump and play on the equipment with the children and it was a beautiful, fun and rare time when I was able to forget, just for a moment, why I was there and why this event had been created.
I stepped back to take a long shot of the entire event, the sound of hundreds of children laughing echoing through the hall. Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion and began to sob. At first I couldn’t understand why I was crying and had to excuse myself to go outside and recover.
I almost never cry during interviews; during interviews I am usually too much in shock (is that the right word?) to allow myself to “feel” what is happening. It is when I am editing that the emotions come flooding out; it is when I am editing and I must watch over and over painful, sad, scary moments that the tears tend to flow.
When I returned to the hall, I apologized to Ms. Tomita for my emotion. I explained to her that it had just suddenly hit me why the event existed: these children cannot play outside, cannot live their lives as children normally do, and with that realization I had been unable to stop my tears (just thinking about it now as I write this I am crying). Ms. Tomita leaned in close to me and whispered, “it happens to a lot of people who come here”.
See also: Mother: Child with severe nose bleeds, full body rash after playing in Fukushima contaminated water -- So much blood, thought head was cut open -- Fingers covered in open sores
Published: December 25th, 2012 at 11:53 am ET