Childhood and teenage obesity is on the rise worldwide

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Leading scientists called for a sugar tax, cheaper fruit and veg and a curb on processed food as it was revealed girls in the U.S. had the 15th highest obesity rate in the world, and boys had the 12th highest obesity in the world.

An on-line study in the Journal, "Lancet", finds that obese children tend to be overweight as adults.

Polynesia and Micronesia had the highest obesity rate in boys and girls for 2016, at 25.4 percent in girls and 22.4 percent in boys.

In 2016, 124 million of young people aged 5 to 19 were considered obese, compared to only 11 million in 1975, evaluating study, conducted by Imperial College London and World Health Organization (WHO). A further 213 million children and teenagers were overweight, but fell below the threshold for obesity. "It continues to increase in other low and middle-income regions".

- Rates are rising particularly quickly in East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, whereas rates in high-income regions have plateaued.

British girls are the sixth fattest in Europe and boys the 18th largest.

If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

The news comes as the number of obese children around the world has increased 10 times in the last four decades.


Thus, the co-author of the paper, who is also a statistician at the University of Kent, James Bentham, said that "Rates of child and adolescent obesity are accelerating in East, South and Southeast Asia". This number in some of the world's smallest countries is, of course, much lower than the gargantuan proportion of undernourished individuals in some of the world's most populated countries, like India and Pakistan. "Very few policies and programs that try to make it accessible to poor families, healthy foods, such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables", he deplored, in a statement accompanying the study. The trend puts these children at a greater risk of disease, said Ezzati. Ezzati said countries need to make healthy foods more affordable, saying that junk foods are often the cheapest option.

Obesity and smoking are the two main drivers behind the soaring numbers of cancers, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes worldwide, grouped together officially as non-communicable diseases, the World Obesity Federation (WOF) said in its estimates. This is to identify the obesity trend form the year 1975 to 2016.

By contrast, the rise in average BMI has accelerated in many parts of Asia.

Researchers called for better nutrition at home and at school, as well as regulations and taxes to alleviate the impending crisis.

This leads to social inequalities in face of obesity and limits possibilities of reducing this burden, stresses researcher.

Over the same period, the prevalence of obesity rose worldwide from under 1 percent for both girls and boys, to 5.6 percent for girls and 7.8 percent for boys. Girls and boys in Moldova had the lowest obesity rates, comprising 3.2% and 5% of the population respectively.

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