Childhood obesity becoming a global health crisis

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Collage of healthy children. from WHO’s Childhood Obesity Prevention report.

Childhood obesity is rapidly becoming a public health crisis in many developing countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO says the number of obese and overweight children worldwide has grown from 31 million in 1990 to about 44 million presently, with developing countries registering a growth rate that is 30 per cent higher than that of developed countries.

In Africa nearly 10 million children are classified as obese or overweight.

To address the serious problem of overweight children and infants, WHO is this week convening the first ever meeting of the Commission on Ending childhood Obesity.

Dan Epstein from WHO has more details.

"This Commission is going to look at every aspect of what contributes to obesity in young children. WHO response is to follow our global strategy on diet, physical activity and health which calls for action at the global, regional and local levels and part of that action is this Commission which is going to look at every aspect of obesity including food marketing to infants, how to prevent obesity, how to reverse it in affected children and what are the best policies to put in place to achieve these goals."

WHO says overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.

To check against obesity, WHO recommends daily regular physical exercise, increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts and limited intake of fats and sugars.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.40″

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December 2017
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