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Child and teen obesity spreading across the globe

11 October 2017, 05:23 | Winifred Adams

Child and teen obesity spreading across the globe

Obesity

Last Updated: October 10, 2017.

"Comprehensive responses are needed to create healthy environments that can support individuals in making healthy choices grounded on knowledge and skills related to health and nutrition".

While being overweight is associated with earlier onset of cardiac and metabolic issues and some cancers, being underweight also can carry serious consequences.

Rates of child and adolescent obesity were highest (above 30pc) in some islands in Polynesia, and were around 20pc or higher in the U.S. and some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The full results appear in The Lancet journal.

Much of the increase in recent years has taken place in developing countries while obesity rates among young people in Europe and the United States were said to have plateaued.

Nonetheless, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests childhood obesity is still growing in the poorest communities in the United Kingdom, with one in 10 young people now classed as obese in this country.

Experts divide people into body mass categories calculated on the basis of their weight-to-height ratio.

Bentham said rates of child and adolescent obesity are accelerating in East, South and Southeast Asia, and continue to increase in other low- and middle-income regions. This is despite obesity rates rising from... Puerto Rico, meanwhile, had climbed up the scale, from 29th to 17th.

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But if post-2000 trends continue, the number of children and teenagers who are obese will surpass the number who're moderately and severely underweight by 2022.

"The trends show that without serious, concerted action to address obesity... the health of millions of people will be needlessly placed in great jeopardy, leading to enormous human and economic costs to communities", Leanne Riley, one of the study authors, said in a press release.

In 2016, 192m young people were underweight - still significantly more than the number of young people who were obese, but that looks set to change. The study found that 75 million girls and 117 million boys were moderately or severely underweight.

Nearly two thirds of the underweight children lived in south Asia.

"Our findings highlight the disconnect between the global dialogue on overweight and obesity, which has largely overlooked the remaining under-nutrition burden", Majid Ezzati, a study author, said in the press release.

It says that no single intervention can halt the advance of the obesity epidemic, but their plan outlines ways to encourage countries to reduce consumption of cheap, processed, calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods.

"While it's happening also in the high-income world, especially in Europe and certainly in Japan and some of its neighbors like South Korea, it has been a slower process", Ezzati said. World Health Organization co-led the research with Imperial College London. The investigators relied on information from more than 2,400 prior studies.

"England is at the forefront of addressing childhood obesity - our sugar reduction programme and the Government's sugar levy are world-leading but this is just the beginning of a long journey to tackle the challenge of a generation".



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