Obesity has become a global epidemic for children.
The number of obese kids in the world is skyrocketing — and that trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
No longer just the province of wealthy nations, childhood obesity is now an epidemic in developing nations as well, with the number of overweight children under 5 years of age doubling in Africa from 5.4 million to 10.3 million between 1990 and 2014. Worldwide, the number of obese kids under 5 is reported to be 41 million, according to a Newsweek report.
It’s an alarming trend that has health experts worried. Life expectancy has been going up worldwide, but if these trends continue to go up, we could see a reversal in those life expectancy gains in the past decade, and a lower quality of life overall.
What can be done about it? Education of parents is paramount. After all, children don’t make these lifestyle decisions, the parents do. And the consequences can be dire: not only are there health problems for obese kids, they’re also more likley to be bullied and treated as an outcast.
It’s also a problem for governments who must deal with the growing strain on their health systems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) created the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) in 2014 to tackle the problem. The commission put out a report recently that indicated it will take a major effort by both the government and society, as no single intervention is going to do the job. The report has six sets of recommendations that require input from governments, international agencies, and civil society.
You can read the full report here.