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Number of Overweight and Obese Children Under-Five Grows at an Alarming Rate, Says WHO

Update Date: Jan 31, 2016 03:17 PM EST
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More than 41 million children aged under five are overweight or obese across the world, and the numbers are increasing at a significant rate in developing countries, said WHO on Monday. Since 1990, the number has witnessed a surge by 10 million worldwide and now there are higher number of overweight or obese children in low-income and middle-income nations than high-income countries, noted WHO. This number increased to 15.5 million in 2014 from 7.5 million in 1990 due to urbanization, said a report by WHO on ECHO (Ending Childhood Obesity). "Overweight and obesity impact on a child's quality of life, as they face a wide range of barriers, including physical, psychological and health consequences," Sania Nishtar, ECHO co-chair, said in a statement. "We know that obesity can impact on educational attainment too and this, combined with the likelihood that they will remain obese into adulthood, poses major health and economic consequences for them, their families and society as a whole," reported Reuters

As many as half of these overweight children, below five years live in Asia and 25% in Africa, where the number of obese children almost doubled in all these years. Amongst African countries, the highest percentage of overweight children are in Egypt, Libya, Botswana, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The children who lack nutritious food in their early childhood are at an increased risk of becoming obese as their levels of activity and food intake changes, said WHO, Yahoo News reported.

The report recommends that WHO should create a norm of life-course approach directed towards ending childhood obesity. The non-governmental organizations should increase awareness of the problem and the private sector should support improved access of healthy foods, says UN News Centre

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