According to a new study, the rate of obese children in the world has soared in the past 40 years.
The researchers discovered that in four decades, the figures have risen rapidly, “In 2016, 50 million girls and 74 million boys worldwide were obese.”
The rate of obesity in youths has risen in Asia, but the figures in the United States and Europe have plateaued.
The research also discovered that an alarmingly high number of adolescents were underweight around the globe, “In 2016, 75 million girls and 117 million boys worldwide were moderately or severely underweight.”
A shocking 124 million children were categorised as obese. To be considered obese their body mass index would be over 30.
The team also found that 213 million children were found to be overweight, meaning they had a BMI of 25-29.
Author of the study Dr James Bentham stated, “More than one in five young people in the USA and one in 10 in the UK are obese.”
The United States went from sixth to fifteenth place on the list of countries with the highest number of obese youths.
He shared that the figures are higher in East, South and Southeast Asia. He added that the rates are growing in other low- and middle-income countries.
The dramatic increase since 1975 is making people question what we can do to help children have a healthier relationship with food and exercise.
Leanne Riley of the World Health Organisation said, “The trends show that without serious, concerted action to address obesity ... the health of millions of people will be needlessly placed in great jeopardy, leading to immense human and economic costs to communities.”
The study was carried out by the Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation. It was published in the Lancet Medical Journal.
The study comes after the announcement that the new National Children’s Hospital is in talks with the government about carrying out weight loss surgery on children in Ireland.
The hospital clinical lead for obesity Prof Donal O’Shea spoke to the Independent, “Some 4,000 people in Ireland will die as a result of the diseases that obesity causes this year.”
He added, “We are sending children abroad for their obesity surgery. We need to be able to do that in Ireland.”