The global rise in childhood obesity is a serious, long-term public health challenge and one that—warns a policy briefing from the World Obesity Federation published in November, 2020—could be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic response. Given how dramatically the pandemic has affected food systems, the economy, and children’s daily lives over the past 2 years, the potential impact of the pandemic on childhood obesity warrants careful scrutiny and a plan to get back on track towards reducing childhood obesity as part of the pandemic recovery.
Childhood obesity and overweight have increased substantially over the past four decades. WHO estimates that, in 2020, there were 39 million children under 5 years of age with overweight or obesity, and that the prevalence of obesity among those aged 5–19 years has increased from <1% globally in 1975 to 6% of girls and 8% of boys in 2016. Obesity and overweight can be associated with physical and mental health issues, and affect quality of life during childhood, but also increase the likelihood of being overweight and having life-limiting comorbidities in adulthood...
Commercial and social determinants of health have fueled the rapid, global growth in childhood overweight. Changes in food production, retail practices, and the wider food environment have meant an increasing availability of convenient, high-calorie foods and drinks, and, as highlighted in The Lancet Commission A Future For The World's Children, this has been coupled with aggressive and largely unregulated marketing of unhealthy products towards children and their parents.
Read the full article here. Download copy of the article here.
Related information; Childhood Obesity: Maintaining momentum during COVID-19 | World Obesity Federation