Obesity increases dramatically in children

Obesity increases dramatically in children

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Childhood obesity is increasing even in poor countries

Researchers warn of childhood obesity. The number of children with overweight or obesity has increased dramatically in the past 30 years. This also applies to countries in which some of the children are still suffering from malnutrition. An international team of researchers came to this conclusion in the context of a series of studies that were published in the renowned specialist magazine "The Lancet".

Childhood obesity is increasing worldwide According to estimates by Boyd Swinburn's scientists from the University of Auckland, children in the United States now weigh an average of five kilograms more than their peers 30 years ago and consume an additional 200 kilocalories a day. According to the researchers, this will primarily benefit the food industry. "Fat children are an investment for future sales," quotes the news agency "dpa" co-author Tim Lobstein of the World Obesity Federation in London.

Childhood obesity is a common problem worldwide. Even in low- to middle-income countries like India, Mexico and South Africa, where some of the children are still suffering from malnutrition and underdevelopment, the number of obese children is increasing rapidly. This resulted in an analysis of several study results that were published between 1972 and 2012. The number of overweight and obese children in Brazil rose from around seven percent in the early 1970s to more than 25 percent by 2010.

Obesity and childhood obesity can cause massive damage to health. People who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) - weight in kilograms by height in square meters - are considered overweight to be over 25. Obesity starts at a BMI of 30. If children are already overweight or obese, this is particularly harmful to their health. Because joints, bones, muscles and organs are exposed to a high health risk at an early stage. Some damage is irreversible. In addition, obese children often suffer from mental illnesses such as behavioral disorders, emotional disorders, school problems, ADHD, depression and learning disorders. And asthma, allergies, headaches and ear infections occur more often than their normal-weight peers. This is the conclusion reached by researchers led by Neal Halfton, Kandyce Larson and Wendy Slusser, whose study was published in the online edition of "Academic Pediatrics" in December 2012.

Researchers call for improved nutrition guidelines for children against obesity The researchers are calling for "The Lancet" new diet guidelines that regulate standards in the specification of nutritional values, the availability and price of food. Previous marketing practices would have to change because children need food security, according to the researchers. The consumption of healthy food should not be endangered by advertising for unhealthy, competing products. The governments of the countries are required to become more involved in the fight against obesity.

One of the studies, conducted by an international team of scientists led by Fumiaki Imamura from the University of Cambridge and published in The Lancet Global Health, found that more fruits and vegetables are eaten worldwide than twenty years ago. According to the researchers, however, this positive nutritional trend will be reversed by the increased consumption of sugary drinks and processed meat. The most unhealthy is the diet of people in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.

In Germany, every second adult is overweight. In Germany, too, the number of overweight and obese people is increasing steadily. According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, every second adult is now overweight. While in 1999 48 percent of Germans were still carrying too many kilos, in 2013 the figure was 52 percent - and the trend is rising. Based on data from 2003 to 2006, the so-called KiGGs study by the Robert Koch Institute, which examines the health situation of children and adolescents in Germany, came to the conclusion that 15 percent of the seven to ten-year-olds and even 17 percent of 14 to 17 year olds were overweight. 6.4 percent and 8.5 percent in the respective age group were considered obese.

In November last year, the German Obesity Society (DAG) wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and warned against underestimating the problem of “obesity”. Getting to grips with the obesity epidemic with voluntary measures has failed.

Image: Thommy Weiss / pixelio.de

Author and source information

Video: The approach to treating childhood obesity. Anita Vreugdenhil. TEDxMaastricht


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