World Obesity Day 2016 on October 11 is focussing on measures to tackle obesity in children

Sydney, October 7: World Obesity Federation in Pediatric Obesity for World Obesity Day 2016 suggest that if current trends continue, by 2025 some 268 million school-aged children (age 5.0 to 17.9 years) worldwide will suffer excess bodyweight including 91 million who will have obesity, according to the new figures.

This is an increase from 223 million in 2013, and is in addition to the estimated 41 million children under age 5 years who are currently affected by overweight or obesity.

Consumption of sugary drinks worldwide increased by a third (33%) in the last ten years; coupled with more than half of the world’s population now living in urban environments; obesity is the fastest rising epidemic, according to Euromonitor Passport and World Obesity Federation.

80% of young people (between 11-17 years) fail to get sufficient physical activity.

The data has been published to mark this year’s World Obesity Day on October 11. This year the focus is on ‘ending childhood obesity’ with an emphasis on the need for urgent government action and leadership to tackle this unsustainable health concern.

In addition to rising levels of overweight and obesity, the analysis also suggests large numbers, globally will be affected by obesity-related diseases by 2025.

Up to 28 million with hypertension, 39 million with fatty liver disease, 15 million with impaired glucose tolerance and as many as 4 million with Type 2 diabetes – pose as some of the grave dangers unless tackled now.

Perhaps of most concern is the fact that 80% of child overweight and obesity is expected to occur in low- and middle- income countries, where health systems will face rapid increases in demand for treating chronic diseases, and economic productivity will be reduced.

The President of the World Obesity Federation, Professor Ian Caterson from the Boden Institute at the University of Sydney, said “The obesity epidemic has reached virtually every country in the world, and overweight and obesity levels are continuing to rise in most places.

“It is of particular concern that it is the low- and middle- income countries who have the least resources to treat obesity are likely to have the greatest burden.

“Governments know the present childhood obesity epidemic is unsustainable and doing nothing is not an option.  That’s why we are using World Obesity Day to call for urgent action.”

In 2012 governments all around the world made a commitment to reduce the prevalence of young child and adolescent obesity to 2010 levels by the year 2025.

In 2016 the governments of the World Health Assembly considered the report of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity and resolved to develop national responses to implement the Commission’s recommendations.

The World Obesity Federation are using World Obesity Day, 11th October, to remind governments of their commitment and to call for them to take urgent action.

Dr Tim Lobstein, Director of Policy at the World Obesity Federation and author of the research said that soft drink and fatty food consumption have increased world-wide and children are becoming more sedentary.

“Junk food advertising continues to influence food choices, and increasing numbers of families live on low incomes in urban environments – a recipe for weight gain”, he said.

Dr Lobstein feels that governments will utterly fail to meet the target of 2010 level by 2025, “unless they take strong action, including setting high standards for public sector food supplies, using public sector purchasing power, and introducing market interventions including taxation, labelling and advertising restrictions.”

 As part of World Obesity Day, World Obesity Federation is also urging health ministries to introduce and expand screening, weight-loss, weight-management and treatment services to meet the needs of all children who are already overweight or obese.

Vir Rajendra

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