Experts from the World Health Organisation say that childhood obesity has risen tenfold in the last four decades and is at its highest rate since 1975.
Worldwide obesity rates have increased from less than 1% in 1975 to about 7% today. A total of 120 million children are considered to be obese, boys more than girls. The researchers examined data that tracked the height and weight of over 30 million 5 to 19 year-olds in the last 40 years.
Obesity at a young age can lead to heart disease and diabetes as well as social problems like bullying and teasing . It also can affect the progress of pupils at school. Apart from that, the effects of childhood obesity are estimated to cost the world’s health care systems over $1 trillion in the next ten years.
While the increase in childhood obesity rates in developed countries in Europe and North America has slowed down , it is still at a very high rate. Children in middle and higher class areas are especially at risk because families have more money to buy unhealthy food.
Experts suggest that countries in which childhood obesity is increasing should think about measures like introducing a tax on sugary drinks or unhealthy food. Schools should offer healthier products in their canteens and better labelling could help show consumers how much sugar, fat and salt products have.
On the other side, many children in poor countries remain underweight and malnourished. Countries with the highest number of underweight children include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. In southern Asia about 25% of all children are thought to be underweight.
The WHO claims that if the trend continues there will soon be more obese than underweight children in our world.
- affect = change
- apart from … = also
- bullying = someone who uses their strength or power to frighten or hurt someone who is weaker
- canteen = place at school where students get a meal or other food
- claim = to say that something is true even if you do not have the facts to prove it
- considered = people think that
- examine = look at information very closely
- data = information
- decade = ten years
- developed countries = rich countries in the world
- diabetes = serious illness in which there is too much sugar in your blood
- especially = above all
- estimate = guess how high something is by looking at the information you have
- height = how tall a person is
- increase = to go up
- labelling = information on a product
- malnourished = if you don’t have enough food to eat
- measure = action that the government takes
- obesity = when someone is very fat in an unhealthy way
- offer = give, provide
- remain = stay
- researcher = person who studies a topic in order to find out more about it
- rise – rose – risen = to go up
- tax = money you must pay to the government for products you buy
- tenfold = ten times as much
- track = to look at information about something over a certain period of time
- trillion = 1,000 000 000 000 = one thousand billion
- weight = how heavy a person is
- World Health Organisation (WHO) = international organisation that helps improve health around the world by giving medicine and providing information about diseases