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Childhood Obesity In Developing Countries An 'Exploding Nightmare'

Update Date: Jan 28, 2016 09:04 AM EST
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Childhood obesity, notoriously framed as a distinctly American public health concern, is no longer a US monopoly according to a recently published report released the UN World Health Organization (WHO) which finds 41 million children worldwide below five as either overweight, or worse, obese.

The problem of obesity is often touted as symbolic first-world excess mainly as a result of poor lifestyle choices and undisciplined consumerism.

However, this conventional view on obesity is fast becoming a myth as more and more developed societies are increasingly drawn towards exhibiting health-conscious viewpoint about life and sustainable attitude toward the environment.

WHO's report points to a growing evidence of childhood obesity turning into an "exploding nightmare in the developing world" especially in Africa where figures have surged from 5.4 million to 10.3 million between 1990-2014.

"In absolute numbers there are more children who are overweight and obese in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries," WHO's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity report reads as quoted in article penned for Take Part.

This worsening epidemic is attributed to a number of culprits: biological factors, unhealthy diet, decline in physical activity among youngsters in schools, and excessive marketing of fat-laden foods.

The report also admonishes governments around the world to come up with an integrated policy response to reverse the undesirable trend.

"Dieting and exercise alone is not the solution. We have responsibilities on behalf of the world's children to stop them from being overly obese," remarked commission co-chair Peter Gluckman as mentioned in a Yahoo News report.

In a similar development, the commission report also calls for tighter regulations and policies aimed at raising taxes on sugary drinks and cholesterol-rich foods.

"The Commission believes there is sufficient rationale to warrant the introduction of an effective tax on sugar-sweetened beverages...to influence purchasing behaviors...It is well established that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk of obesity," WHO report recommends as stated by Daily Mail.

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