One in five children is now obese or overweight.
Thin or weak children have long been the enduring image associated with poor nutrition in developing countries, while obesity is considered the curse of rich nations. However, a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO)showed an obvious shift in this trend.
WHO released a report published in the lancet which shows that obesity rates among five to 19-year-olds Rose Tenfold in the past four decades, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016.
In line with the observance of World Obesity Day today, the world agency offers recommendations of policy actions for countries to tackle obesity and overweight in young children.
“These actions are all feasible for all countries to tackle ending obesity and overweight in children. Countries will start at different places, perhaps in the schools, perhaps in the physical activity, perhaps in the public education and awareness and the regulatory and marketing, but all countries can tackle obesity through these six recommendations,” said WHO Program Manager Fiona bull.
The report said that 0.7 percent of children were obese in 1975, compared to 5.6 percent of girls and 7.8 percent of boys in 2016.
If the trend continues, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately to severely underweight by 2022, according to the analysis of the weight and height measurements of nearly 130 million people – the largest ever epidemiological study, according to WHO.
“Being an overweight child or adolescent means you are more likely to be an overweight adult and it is also more likely to lead to early onset of conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Overweight in childhood and adolescence also causes social psychological problems for the children themselves, more stigmatism, more bullying, less optimal school performance,” said WHO team leader Leanne Riley.
The study showed that there are now 124 million children and adolescents in the world who are obese and an additional 214 million overweight children and adolescent. — United Nations Multimedia