Health Care

Global cost of obesity to top £900bn a year from 2025

Global cost of obesity to top £900bn a year from 2025”

Despite the trend, more children around the world are severely underweight than overweight, the research showed.

In 1975, 3% of British girls aged five to 19 were classified as obese, a total of 200,000.

Most countries within the Pacific Islands, including the Cook Islands and Nauru, had the highest rates globally, with more than 30% of their youth ages 5 to 19 estimated to be obese.

Overall, one in every five children on the planet is either obese - meaning more than two standard deviations from the median on growth charts - or overweight - meaning more than one standard deviation.

The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has jumped tenfold in the past 40 years and the rise is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia, a major study said on Wednesday.

Over the next eight years, the United States is set to spend $4.2 trillion on treating obesity-related disease, Germany will spend $390 billion, Brazil $251 billion and the United Kingdom $237 billion if these countries do not do more to try to prevent it, the Guardian quoted the federation as saying.

"We are looking at a generation of children who are gaining weight in their... childhood and will live with the effects over their lifetime of obesity", he told CTV News. These range from underweight, normal weight, overweight and three categories of obese. In adults, being underweight is defined as a BMI under 18.5. "The reality is the world around us is changing".

The almost 200 million children classified as moderately or severely underweight also continue to pose a major public health challenge, the report's authors said.

By comparison, there were 117 million underweight boys and 75 million underweight girls last year after the number peaked around the year 2000, the study said. By 2016 their numbers had risen to 510,000, representing 9.4%.

Being underweight comes with its own health consequences among children and adolescents, including a greater risk of infectious disease and potential harm during pregnancy for adolescents and women old enough to have children.

Obesity rates have accelerated rapidly in parts of Asia and in low- to middle-income countries, but have plateaued in high-income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

"Most importantly, very few policies and programmes attempt to make healthy foods such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables affordable to poor families".

Professor Majid Ezzati, a member of the team from Imperial College London, said: "While there have been some initiatives led by governments, communities or schools to increase awareness about childhood and adolescent obesity, most high-income countries have been reluctant to use taxes and industry regulations to change eating and drinking behaviours to tackle child obesity".

"Children are not getting physical activity in the school days, there is poor food opportunities in many schools, walking and cycling to school is going down in many countries, unsafe in many other countries, and parents are not being given the right, sufficient advice on nutrition", said Fiona Bull of WHO's department of non-communicable diseases.

"We have not become more weak-willed, lazy or greedy".

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