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Ten times more obese children in forty years

In 2016, 124 million of young people aged 5 to 19 in the world were considered obese, compared to only 11 million in 1975.

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Ten times more obese children in forty years
The number of obese children and adolescents in world has been multiplied by more than ten since 1975, but those underweight remain even more numerous, according to a study published on Wednesday 11 October, which calls for fight against se "two plagues" of malnutrition.

If trends observed in recent years continue, juvenile obesity will surpass underweight by 2022, however, authors of this study, published in British Medical journal The Lancet.

All regions of world are concerned

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).

The phenomenon concerns all regions of world. The most affected countries are some Polynesian islands (more than 30% of 5-19 years affected by Cook islands, for example), while this rate reaches or exceeds 20% in United States, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. If this prevalence seems to be capping for a few years in rich countries, it continues to climb in low-and middle-income countries.

The number of children and adolescents underweight decreased slowly since 2000 – except in South and south-East Asia and in central, eastern and western Africa.

In 2016, re were still 192 million of m in moderate or severe underweight, adding authors, who analyzed data on 31.5 million of young people in 200 countries. Two-thirds live in Souast Asia, particularly in India. Excessively low weight increases risk of infectious diseases in particular.

Underweight in line of sight

"There is always a need for policies that encourage food security in countries and low-income households." (...) But our data show that transition from underweight to overweight obesity can occur rapidly, warns Prof. Majid Ezzati of Imperial College, London, who coordinated ir work.

The environmental health specialist warns in particular against risk of "poor food transition, with an increase in food with a high energy content but nutrient-poor". "Very few policies and programs are trying to make healthy foods accessible to poor families, such as complete cereals and fresh fruit and vegetables," he lamented in a statement accompanying study.

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

Obesity causes increased risks of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.


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