Childhood overweight and obesity
Childhood overweight and obesity on the rise
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 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 35 million of these are living in developing countries.
Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority.
Prioritizing areas for action in the field of population-based prevention of childhood obesity
WHO Forum and Technical Meeting on Population-based Prevention Strategies for Childhood Obesity. Geneva, Switzerland 15-17 December 2009.
Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
The fundamental causes behind the rising levels of childhood obesity are a shift in diet towards increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other healthy micronutrients, and a trend towards decreased levels of physical activity.
WHO developed the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health at the request of WHO Member States, which was endorsed by the 57th World Health Assembly, in May 2004. The Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health is a prevention-based strategy that aims to significantly reduce the prevalence of NCDs and their common risk factors, primarily unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.