Study Reveals Increase in Obesity among Youth

A recent study led by Imperial College, London, and WHO has disclosed a tenfold increase in the number of obese children and adolescents across the globe, over the past 4 decades. The study was published online ahead of the World Obesity Day on Wednesday. Around 130 million people’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was analyzed, out of which 3.1 million were aged between 5 and 19.

The study found that the highest prevalence of obesity is in the South Pacific, where the obesity rate touched more than 30 percent for both girls and boys in the Cooks Islands, Nauru and Palau in 2016. The US, Egypt and many other countries’ obesity rate ranged above 20 percent, while South Asia, in particular India, had the most underweight teens and children.

The majority population of obese youth comes under the world’s high income countries. The food trends and the lifestyle are reasoned with such a wide increase in the number of obese youth. If the situation continues, by 2022, there will be more number of obese youth than those are fairly underweight.  In 1975, the number of obese children aged 5-19 was 11 million and in 2016 it had increased to 124 million. Meanwhile, the number of underweight youth remained higher at 192 million even with a slight decrease since 2000.

The data reportedly emphasizes the need to remind that obesity and overweight is now a global health crisis, which will worsen if not extensive measures against this are not taken. It has been suggested that the youth should spend more time for physical activities than on video games, social media.

Obese youth are at a greater risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which indicates the need for healthy eating habits. Needed measures should be taken to reduce the consumption of unhealthy, calorie dense, nutrient poor foods. With regard to the study, WHO will bring out a summary so that countries can take effective measures to limit the increase in obesity among the youth.