Increases of Obesity and Overweight in Children: an Alarm for Parents and Policymakers

Authors

1 Chairman of the Special Committee Healthcare Reform in Khorasan Razavi, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Students Research Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Abstract

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2013 the number of overweight children under the age of five years old, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 31 million of these are living in developing countries. In the WHO African Region alone the number of overweight or obese children increased from 4 to 9 million over the same period. The vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries. If current trends continue the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025.  Without intervention, obese infants and young children will likely continue to be obese during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Overweight and obesity are largely preventable. Supportive policies, environments, schools and communities are fundamental in shaping parents’ and children’s choices, making the healthier choice of foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing obesity.

Keywords