Global cost of obesity-related illness to hit $1.2 trillion

Global cost of obesity-related illness to hit $1.2 trillion

Last Updated: October 10, 2017.

The EASO Childhood Obesity Task Force (COTF) is convinced that considering obesity as a chronic disease is a crucial step for increasing individual and societal awareness, enhance the development of novel preventive interventions and health policies, and improve the care of children with obesity worldwide.

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.

Among developed countries, researchers said obesity rates among children and teenagers had recently plateaued at about 10 percent in the U.K. and about 20 percent in the United States.

The World Obesity Federation, along with the Lancet and the World Health Organisation, published the new data, revealing the continual increase in childhood obesity and the financial consequences of untreated obesity at all ages.

"While average BMI among children and adolescents has recently plateaued in Europe and North America, this is not an excuse for complacency as more than one in five young people in the U, S. and one in 10 in the United Kingdom are obese", he said.

Obesity in adults is defined using a person's body mass index, the ratio between weight and height.

East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have seen a shift from underweight to obesity within the space of a few decades.

Pune Municipal Assistant Health Officer Anjali Sabane said the number of people living obesity has increased at an alarming rate, which is why the civic body has included such surgeries in the different health schemes it offers its employees. Puerto Rico, meanwhile, had climbed up the scale, from 29th to 17th.

The study reports that the number of obese children has increased more than tenfold in the past four decades - from 5 million girls in 1975 to 50 million in 2016, and from 6 million boys in 1975 to 74 million in 2016.

"The trends show that without serious, concerted action to address obesity. the health of millions of people will be needlessly placed in great jeopardy, leading to vast human and economic costs to communities", said study author Leanne Riley, of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2016, 192m young people were underweight - still significantly more than the number of young people who were obese, but that looks set to change.

Nearly two-thirds of underweight children lived in southern Asia.

Particularly, countries should aim to "reduce consumption of cheap, ultra-processed, calorie dense, nutrient poor foods", as well as "the time children spend on screen-based and sedentary leisure activities by promoting greater participation in physical activity through active recreation and sports", said Dr. But Ezzati says it also has a big impact in childhood.

Co-researcher Dr Harry Rutter, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "This is a huge problem that will get worse". The investigators relied on information from more than 2,400 prior studies.

"(Children) don't have much say in the environment they are brought up in", he said.