The number of overweight children is expected to double in the next decade.
Childhood obesity is becoming a huge concern worldwide. More than 41 million children under age 5 are overweight or obese. The number is expected to reach more than 70 million in the next decade, according to latest World Health Organization (WHO) report.
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Surprisingly, a massive rise in obese or overweight kids has been observed in low and middle income countries where the number of such kids has more than doubled from 7.5 million to 15.5 million between 1990 and 2014. Overall, the number of obese or overweight children under 5 has risen from 4.8% to 6.1% or 31 million to 41 million over that period of time.
Nearly half of obese kids (48%) belong to Asia while 25% are living in Africa, where a tremendous surge in obese or overweight children has been noticed since 1990 (5.4 million to 10.3 million).
"Overweight and obesity impact on a child’s quality of life, as they face a wide range of barriers, including physical, psychological and health consequences. We know that obesity can impact on educational attainment too and this, combined with the likelihood that they will remain obese into adulthood, poses major health and economic consequences for them, their families and society as a whole.” Sania Nishtar, co-chair of The Commission of Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO), who presented the final report to WHO, said in a statement.
To tackle childhood obesity, report has 6 recommendations for governments worldwide:
- Promote the intake of healthy food in children and reduce the consumption of unhealthy food such as soda drinks and sugary meals
- Promote physical activity among children
- Provision of preconception and pregnancy care
- Provide guidance on early childhood diet and physical activity
- Promote healthy school environment, health, nutrition and physical activity among school going kids
- Provide weight management service for children and young people who are obese
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“Increased political commitment is needed to tackle the global challenge of childhood overweight and obesity,” said commission co-chair Peter Gluckman. “WHO needs to work with government to implement a wide range of measures that address the environmental causes of obesity and overweight, and help give children the healthy start to life they deserve.”