Global Obesity Among Children, Teens Up 10-Fold Since 1975; Over-, Underweight Rates Vary Widely Among Regions, Study Shows

Associated Press: Children’s obesity rates in rich countries may have peaked
“While the obesity rate among children in rich countries may have peaked, kids in developing countries are increasingly putting on unhealthy pounds, according to research released Tuesday. Globally, more children are still underweight rather than obese although the researchers think that will change by 2022 if trends continue…” (Cheng, 10/11).

CNN: Ten times more children and teens obese today than 40 years ago
“The number of obese children and adolescents rose to 124 million in 2016 — more than 10 times higher than the 11 million classified as obese 40 years ago, in 1975. A further 213 million children and adolescents were overweight in 2016, finds a new study published Tuesday in the Lancet…” (Senthilingam, 10/10).

Deutsche Welle: Obesity in kids and teenagers rises tenfold in last 40 years — WHO study
“According to the most comprehensive study on childhood and adolescent obesity to date, published on World Obesity Day by the WHO and Imperial College in London, obesity rates in children and teenagers rose from one percent in 1975 to nearly six percent in girls and eight percent in boys worldwide…” (Goebel, 10/11).

Financial Times: Global childhood obesity rises 10-fold in 40 years
“…The study, led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, used data on 31.5m children and adolescents worldwide to estimate trends in body mass index (BMI) from 1975 to 2016. The results are published in the Lancet. Over this period the number of obese girls, aged 5 to 19, rose from 5m to 50m, while the total for boys increased from 6m to 74m…” (Cookson, 10/10).

The Guardian: Shocking figures show there are now 124 million obese children worldwide
“…Alongside the report, and also Monday’s story in the Guardian revealing that the global cost of obesity will be $1.2tn by 2025, the World Health Organization is calling for every country to act, taking on Big Food to avoid the mounting human and economic costs of obesity-related ill-health in years to come…” (Boseley, 10/10).

Reuters: Child and teen obesity soars tenfold worldwide in 40 years: WHO report
“…The researchers called for better nutrition at home and at school, and more physical exercise to prevent a generation from becoming adults at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancers due to excessive weight. Clear food labels on salt, sugar, and fat content are needed to help consumers make ‘healthy choices,’ the study said. Taxation and tough restrictions on marketing of junk food should be considered, it said…” (Nebehay, 10/10).

TIME: Childhood Obesity Has Risen 10 Times Worldwide
“…The study also documented rates of under-nutrition and under-weight around the world, and found that prevalence of under-weight decreased from 9.2 percent in 1975 to 8.4 percent in 2016 among girls, and from 14.8 percent to 12.4 percent among boys. Still, the number of children affected by under-weight outnumbers those who are obese…” (Park, 10/10).

Washington Post: New maps show big divide between the world’s overweight and underweight children
“…[Harry Rutter, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,] and the WHO’s Fiona Bull, another co-author, said on a call with reporters that the solution lies in not only targeting individual behavior — including the quantity and quality of meals and physical exercise — but in looking more broadly at agricultural policies as well as the marketing, packaging, pricing, and availability of food…” (Cha, 10/10).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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