Doctors raise the alarm: More than 120 million obese children worldwide

Doctors raise the alarm: More than 120 million obese children worldwide

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More and more obese children and adolescents - experts are demanding consequences

Over the past 40 years, the number of obese children has increased tenfold. This comes from a recent study. Those who suffered from obesity in childhood will often experience serious health problems in adulthood, which reach into old age. Therefore, doctors and researchers are calling for a more intensive approach to the problem.

The number of obese children has increased tenfold

Overweight in children has been an increasing problem for years. New data are now available. According to a recent study by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese children and adolescents between the ages of five and 19 has increased tenfold worldwide in the past four decades. 124 million of them are therefore too fat. Being overweight is associated with numerous health risks.

Analyzed data from nearly 130 million people

For the study, which was published in the specialist magazine "The Lancet" before World Obesity Day, the approximately 1,000 scientists analyzed data from almost 130 million people.

According to a WHO statement, this was the largest number of participants ever involved in an epidemiological study.

The researchers recorded the Body Mass Index (BMI) and examined how obesity changed worldwide from 1975 to 2016.

124 million obese children and adolescents worldwide

It has been shown that the worldwide obesity rates among children and adolescents from less than one percent (equivalent to five million girls and six million boys) in 1975 to almost six percent in girls (50 million) and almost eight percent in boys (74 million) a year Increased in 2016.

Taken together, the number of obese five to 19 year olds increased from eleven million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. This was an increase of more than tenfold.

According to the experts, a further 213 million were overweight in 2016, but were below the obesity threshold. A body mass index (BMI) from 30 is considered pathological overweight.

Generation of children growing up with an increased risk of illness

“Over the past four decades, child and adolescent obesity rates have increased worldwide and continue to do so in low and middle income countries. They have recently stagnated in higher-income countries, but are still unacceptably high, ”says lead author Professor Majid Ezzati of the Imperial School of Public Health.

Among other things, the expert blamed the effects of advertising for unhealthy foods on the trend. In addition, healthy nutritious food is too expensive for poor families and communities.

"The trend predicts a generation of children and adolescents who will grow up obese and at an increased risk of disease," said Professor Ezzati.

Health consequences of being overweight

Childhood and adolescent obesity can have dangerous health consequences.

Excessive overweight can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, liver damage, metabolic disorders or joint problems.

In addition, many sufferers suffer from massive mental problems. The longer you are overweight, the higher the risk of complications.

To make matters worse, obesity can lead to cardiovascular diseases, damage to the musculoskeletal system, diabetes and asthma at a later age.

Protect children from unhealthy foods

"We need to find ways to better provide healthy, nutritious food at home and at school, especially in poor families and communities, and we need regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy food," said Professor Ezzati.

If development continues as current data suggests, obesity in children could soon be a bigger problem than underweight.

Then by 2022 there would be more obese people worldwide in the group of five to 19 year olds than moderately or severely underweight people.

Nevertheless, the large number of moderately or severely underweight children and adolescents in 2016 (75 million girls and 117 million boys) remains a major public health challenge, especially in the poorest parts of the world.

Experts call for drastic measures

Dr. Fiona Bull of WHO said of the latest study results: "The data shows that obesity and obesity have reached the extent of a global health crisis that will worsen in the coming years if we do not take drastic measures."

As the communication says, there are solutions to reduce obesity in children and adolescents.

In parallel to the current study, the WHO also published a summary of the “Ending Childhood Obesity” (ECHO) initiative. The plan gives countries clear guidelines for effective measures to curb obesity among children and adolescents.

"Countries should particularly aim to reduce the consumption of cheap, ultra-processed, high-calorie, low-nutrient foods," said Dr. Bull

"You should also reduce the amount of time children spend on screen and seated leisure activities by encouraging greater participation in physical activity through active leisure activities and sports." (Ad)

Author and source information

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