The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on Monday showing the “alarming” figures for child obesity. According to the report, 41 million children under the age of five are either overweight or obese.
Along with the figure, the statistics show that the number of children overweight or obese in this age range has risen by 10 million around the world in the last 26 years. Most of the children come from low- or middle-income countries, suggesting that poor nutrition, education and poverty are to blame for the food choices. The figures doubled between 1990 and 2014 in developing countries. These include many African countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Botswana.
WHO states that obesity in childhood is extremely dangerous, as it affects their education and can lead to health issues in the future. There are also economic issues and children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.
There is no specific reason behind the obesity problem around the world. Marketing unhealthy food and drink is certainly a concern, but the children are also more likely to come from countries where nutritious food is harder to come by on a regular basis. Healthcare changes have also been blamed. The report shows that almost 50 percent of those obese or overweight will come from an Asian country and another 25 percent will come from an African one.
With so many contributing factors, WHO now needs to work with governments to reduce the number of obese or overweight children. Governments should help by promoting physical exercise and healthy foods, along with healthy environments within schools. The blame is being put on the governments because it cannot be placed on the children themselves. Many have said that the parents should be blamed, and that child obesity should be illegal.
The sugary drinks tax has also been backed after the report. This has already been introduced in Mexico, and other countries are pushing for it. Chef Jamie Oliver is pushing hard for it in the United Kingdom, and has already placed a 7 percent tax on sugary drinks and foods consumed in his own restaurants. The idea is that people are less likely to buy something sugary and unhealthy if they have to pay more for it. After all, many in the western world complain that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy options, meaning low-income families are more likely to reach for the bad stuff. While the sugary drinks tax is backed, it is not the only way to combat the “alarming” figures.
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/25/childhood-obesity-commission-world-health-organisation
Images from Twitter: The Obesity Society Twitter Feed (https://twitter.com/ObesitySociety/status/691989037666672640) and WCRF Twitter Feed (https://twitter.com/wcrfint/status/691600215875391489)
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