The prevalence of childhood obesity has for a long time appeared to be on the decline. Recent studies confirm that the battle against childhood obesity could be far from over as the number of obese kids in 2018 approaches a record high. A survey conducted in the Lancet confirms that the number of overweight children aged 5-19 has increased by ten folds from 1975 to 2018. Global stats show that obesity rates in children are now past the 20% mark.
Obesity studies are based on the body mass index also known as BMI, which is a measure of height and weight. It is now evident that the average BMI among children continues to increase. It has been established that obesity in high-income ranking countries have plateaued thanks to better dietary practices along with the introduction of exercise in schools.
African regions still enjoy the lowest obesity stats. Unfortunately, established African economies like South Africa show a considerable proportionate increase in obesity among children, which could be the reason the overall number of children with obesity on a global scale continues to rise.
This study also confirms that the rates of malnutrition have decreased significantly – which is good news anyway. Surprisingly, the number of kids experiencing starvation (underweight) remains to be higher than that of obese. But if the currents trends are anything to go by, it is expected that the number of overweight kids will be more than those underweight by 2022.
Call to Action
As the number of children at risk of obesity continues to increase, parents remain to be our last line of defense against this epidemic. Parents are thus encouraged to pay close attention to the foods they feed their kids with. On the other hand, doctors too should also be careful if we are to save the next generation.