124mn obese kids worldwide, tenfold increase in 40yrs

Obesity-related diseases to cost India $13 bn by 2025 Report

Obesity-related diseases to cost India $13 bn by 2025 Report

In the biggest study of its kind ever undertaken, researchers from Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) analysed the weight and height measurements of nearly 130 million people, including over 31 million people aged between five and 19 years.

It analysed weight and height measurements from almost 130 million people aged over five years, including 31.5 million aged five to 19 and 97.4 million aged 20 and older, making it the largest ever number of participants involved in an epidemiological study. In South Asia, approximately 20 per cent of girls and 28 per cent of boys were either moderately or severely underweight, which makes them more vulnerable to infectious diseases, and in the case of teen girls, more likely to have pregnancy complications.

Childhood obesity has risen more than tenfold worldwide over the last four decades, with many middle income countries witnessing a transformation from mostly underweight kids to mostly overweight, according to a new health report. "Very few policies and programs are trying to make healthy foods accessible to poor families, such as complete cereals and fresh fruit and vegetables", he lamented in a statement accompanying study.

In many middle-income countries in Latin America, East Asia and the Caribbean, children and teenagers have quickly gone from being mostly underweight to mostly overweight.

"While average BMI among children and adolescents has recently plateaued in Europe and North America, this is not an excuse for complacency as more than one in five young people in the US and one in 10 in the United Kingdom are obese", said James Bentham, co-author of the paper.

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The number of obese children and adolescents in world has been multiplied by more than ten since 1975, but those underweight remain even more numerous, according to a study published on Wednesday 11 October, which calls for fight against se "two plagues" of malnutrition.

"While there have been some initiatives led by governments, communities or schools to increase awareness about childhood and adolescent obesity, most high income countries have been reluctant to use taxes and industry regulations to change eating and drinking behaviours to tackle child obesity".

In 2016, the number of obese children and teenagers rose to 124 million. "They should also reduce the time children spend on screen-based and sedentary leisure activities by promoting greater participation in physical activity through active recreation and sports".

Child obesity has peaked in Britain in the past decade, meaning it is now only mid-table in the obesity league as other countries get fatter faster.

Nauru had the highest prevalence of obesity for girls (33.4%), and Cook Islands had the highest for boys (33.3%).

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- In Europe, Malta and Greece have the highest number of obese children, Moldova the lowest.

Girls in the United Kingdom had the 73rd highest obesity rate in the world (6th in Europe), and boys in the United Kingdom had the 84th highest obesity in the world (18th in Europe). Conversely, the rise in high income countries has slowed and plateaued.

Girls in the US had the 15th highest obesity rate in the world, and boys had the 12th highest obesity in the world.

The largest rise in BMI of children and adolescents during the four decades was in Polynesia and Micronesia for both boys and girls, and in central Latin America for girls.

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