Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Child Obesity an 'Exploding Nightmare' in Developing World

MyAchingKnees comment: This is going to piss some people off when I say this, but I get agitated when I see a large fat woman dragging a little fat 8 year old up to the counter at the gas station or convenience store and buying a Big Gulp soft drink and potato chips. By the time that child has a clue, he/she is often too fat, too unhealthy and a pariah at school and with other children - talk about a low self system builder.. Bad nutrition only degrades their immune system will also not allow the body, joints, soft connective tissue and even their young brains to develop correctly.

If you were some rolly polly 8 year old you wouldn't feel like running and playing if your gosh darn knees hurt, now would you! Shame on these parents.

I think that often this cycle is not broken and perpetuates obese, unhealthy children. There are certainly some factors outside the control of some parents but making the best choice available is not one of these limiting factors.

Childhood obesity has reached alarming rates globally and become an “exploding nightmare” in the developing world, including Africa where the number of obese and overweight children under five has nearly doubled since 1990, a WHO commission said Monday.

The authors of the report from the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity stressed that the epidemic has historically not been treated as a grave public health issue and was regarded by some as a product of lifestyle choices by individuals and families.

But following two years of research in more than 100 countries, the authors underscored that governments and global public health bodies were central to reversing the scourge.

“What’s the big message? It’s not the kid’s fault,” commission co-chair Peter Gluckman told reporters.

Biological factors, inadequate access to healthy foods, a decline in physical activity in schools and the unregulated marketing of fattening foods are among the drivers of a worsening epidemic that requires a coordinated global response, the report said.

If not reversed, “the obesity epidemic has the potential to negate many of the health benefits that have contributed to the increased longevity observed in the world,” added the report, commissioned by the UN’s World Health Organization.

Gluckman conceded that the commission’s policy recommendations – which range from promoting healthy lifestyles to higher taxes on sugary drinks – may seem like common sense.

But, the commission noted, common sense strategies have not been adequately implemented anywhere in the world, with the number of obese and overweight children under five growing from 31 million to 41 million between 1990 and 2014.

“To date, progress in tackling childhood obesity has been slow and inconsistent,” the report said.

Lower-Income Communities. Child obesity “is an exploding nightmare in the developing world,” Gluckman said.

The figures have surged in Africa, with the number of overweight or obese children under five nearly doubling from 1990 to 2014, from 5.4 million to 10.3 million.

The rate of increase in Asia was difficult to quantify, Gluckman said, but Asia currently accounts for nearly half (48 percent) of young children categorized as overweight or obese.

The report notes that in wealthier countries, poorer children are more likely to be obese, partly due to the relative affordability and abundance of fatty fast foods and high-sugar snacks.

Conversely, in poorer countries the children of wealthier families are more likely to be obese, including in cultures where “an overweight child is often considered to be healthy.”

Biology, Solutions. The report outlines biological pathways that can expose children to an elevated risk of obesity once they are born.

The first, called the “mismatch” pathway, results from even subtle malnutrition during pregnancy and early childhood, which can impact gene function and make a child far more likely to excessively gain weight.

The second, the developmental pathway, can occur when a mother entering pregnancy is obese or has pre-existing diabetes.

This “predisposes the child to increased fat deposits associated with metabolic disease and obesity,” the report said.

The report’s recommendation call for an integrated response among governments, global health institutions and individuals, with Gluckman stressing that urging individuals to eat well and keep fit was not enough.

“Dieting and exercise alone is not the solution,” he said. “We have responsibilities on behalf of the world’s children to stop them from being overly obese.”

Article originally posted on Yahoo! Health

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