A report released Monday by WHO commissioners shows that childhood obesity goes rampant in the developing world, with the number of obese and overweight kids that haven’t reach the age of five nearly doubling in the last 26 years.
The report was issued by the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. WHO experts currently urge states to treat the obesity epidemic as a stringent public health issue, rather than to view it as a byproduct of unhealthy lifestyle.
The recent findings are the result of a two-year-long study which has analyzed data on children living in more than 100 countries. Study authors believe that governments and centralized organizations play a crucial role in ending the epidemic.
The report deems childhood obesity in the emerging world an ‘exploding nightmare.’
Peter Gluckman, one the commissioners involved in the research, underscored that kids are not at fault. Obesity is often influenced by biological factors, poor eating habits, lack of exercise in schools, and ads to products with high fat and sugar content.
The report concludes that the epidemic could be addresses only through a ‘coordinated global response.’ If states fail to tackle the issue, obesity could offset any improvements made to health systems that currently allow people to leave a longer life.
The commission recommends a series of measures including promoting healthier lifestyle choices, informing parents, and approving higher taxes on sweetened beverages. Though these measures may look like common sense to many people, states worldwide lagged behind in adopting them.
As a result the number of overweight kids jumped from 31 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2014. WHO experts also found that efforts to curb childhood obesity have been lacking consistency.
Overweight children are soon to become a common sight in Africa, where the number of obese children surged from 5.4 million to 10.3 million in less than three decades. Asia has 48 percent of children that haven’t reached the age of six yet but are considered either overweight or obese.
Surprisingly, researchers found that in developed countries kids that come from poor families are more likely to struggle with weight problems. Scientists believe that this has something to do with poor quality of food and lack of education.
On the other hand, in the developing world, children from wealthier families are more likely to gain extra weight. This is also available in communities where fat children are considered to be healthy.
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