Ironically, 21st century brought two devastating global challenges. Aside to all progress, successes and achievements of the modern age, we have countries where people die starving, but we have obesity epidemic at the same time.
The rising prevalence of the childhood obesity is a particularly serious public health problem. It is estimated that nearly 45 million children under the age of five have problems with overweight and most of them live in urban developing regions.
Children obesity is growing trend
Obese children will usually grow into obese adults suffering many related diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, depression and many others. All of this is mostly preventable. Thus, the WHO set childhood overweight as one of the top priorities among public health issues. To convert scientific discussions into action, WHO released general and societal recommendations and strategy to fight this growing problem.
Europe heading towards “enormous proportions” epidemic by 2030
Statistics following body mass index among European countries are showing a worrying picture. More than 50% of adults in dozens of countries are categorized as obese or overweight, and the trend continues to grow. If estimated according to body mass index, adults are considered overweight when BMI is 25 and more, and obesity includes BMI over 30. Equally worrying results are found among children.
In kids, we use percentiles to measure their weight compared to standards for their age and sex. When weight falls above the 85th percentile, a child is considered overweight and children over 97th percentile are obese.
Since estimates suggested urgently needed a strategy to stop and reverse the trend, WHO created Modeling obesity project, the European congress on obesity is held annually and many experts, involving pediatricians, nutritionists and psychologists formed European group of professionals to deal with obesity in children. Some recent results are significant.
Canada makes progress in fighting obesity among kids
Every 10th child in this country was diagnosed with obesity and Canadians have been one of the top endangered states regarding weights issues for a long time. Their children were drastically above healthy norms determined by WHO and that led to the development of wide range of consequences.
Excess body fat caused various physical problems impacting whole families, medical professionals, and country’s economy. The stigma against fat kids led to emotionally disturbed adolescents suffering from depression, eating disorders and various social problems. After realizing the severity of the problem, country’s medical community applied various methods to raise awareness and educational level, spread information and suggestions on how to lose weight in a healthy way and the latest study shows declining in overweight rates after a long time.
Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Winnipeg claims decrease in kids’ BMI
Dr. Atul Sharma, a pediatric nephrologists and Dr. Celia Rodd, a pediatric endocrinologist, conducted a study on childhood obesity with a team of professionals, including data on 14 000 children. The study covered all age groups, races, and economic classes while analyzing data collected in national health surveys. The study was published on May 9, and it suggests that overweight rates are falling.
The research that took place at Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, indicates that majority of BMIs have dropped among younger kids, aged five to twelve and girls lost their weight more than boys did.
This slight, but significant progress is probably due to the implementation of BMI grow charts and general systemic efforts to focus public attention on this issue and promote healthier ways of eating, exercising and better everyday’s habits.
The payoff of these methods is inspirational and motivating, but it is just a small beginning of the attempt to turn obesity epidemic round.