The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) presented their final report to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the end of last month on the global levels of childhood overweight and obesity.
The two year study found that the number of children who are overweight or obese around the world rose to 41 million in 2014, from 31 million in 1990.
Most notably, 48 percent of these overweight and obese children live in Asia.
ECHO concluded that it is unlikely any one single measure will contain this growing problem although recommended a tax on sugar – which has worked well in Mexico – and marketing restrictions on unhealthy food and drinks. A standardised global nutrient system was also suggested.
Education should also play an important part in addressing this epidemic; schools should be promoting health and nutrition while also implementing regularly scheduled physical education lessons.
The NCD (non-communicable diseases) Asia Pacific Alliance, who have long been emphasising the vulnerability of the region to NCDs, commented,
There has been a rapid increase in these diets and lifestyle related deaths and disease in the region, and obesity is a rising epidemic. Asia Pacific countries are at a further disadvantage as they are faced with continually poor access to healthcare services and policies that are meant to combat NCDs.
They are working to develop strategies aligned to ECHO’s suggestions to help stem the crisis, including encouraging the reduction of salt and sugar consumption by avoiding processed foods, which have permeated the region just as they have in Western countries.
Featured image is via the Deccan Chronicle