Photo/IllutrationIllustration: Yoshiyuki Ogura

Children these days are more likely to develop allergy problems that make their lives a misery due to the environment in which they grew up.

The education ministry said youngsters are increasingly prone to nose, eye, and ear problems.

The ministry collects health data every year based on checkups of children at preschools, elementary, junior high and high schools across the nation.

Based on the findings for fiscal 2018, released Dec. 21, 13.04 percent of elementary school pupils, 10.99 percent of junior high school students and 9.86 percent of high school students had a nose cavity, or paranasal sinus, condition, including empyema and allergic rhinitis, up 2.86 points, 2.57 points and 4.02 points, respectively, compared with 20 years ago.

The first and third figures are record highs.

A ministry official said more children and students have allergies, probably because they grew up in an overly hygienic environment.

With regard to uncorrected eyesight, 34.1 percent of elementary school pupils, 56.04 percent of junior high school students and 67.09 percent of high school students have worse than 20/20 vision.

The rates for elementary and high school students are record highs, with the figure for junior high school students down slightly from a record 56.33 percent in fiscal 2017.

The ministry said the high rates were likely a result of lifestyle habits, such as being glued to smartphones and gaming devices, and advised parents to make sure their offspring undergo medical exams at an early stage and to reduce screen time.

Officials said that 6.47 percent of elementary school pupils, 4.72 percent of junior high schoolers and 2.45 percent of high schoolers suffered ear ailments, such as otitis media or external otitis, up 2.82 points, 2.59 points and 1.66 points, respectively, compared with 20 years ago.

The figures for elementary and junior high schools are record highs.

With regard to dental health, 45.3 percent of elementary school pupils, 35.41 percent of junior high school students and 45.36 percent of high school students had at least one cavity, with the latter two figures a record low.

From the 1960s to 1970s, when the figures were at their highest, more than 90 percent of juveniles at elementary or junior high school had at least one cavity.