Childhood Obesity: An Emerging Global Threat
Overweight and obesity results from excessive fat accumulation in our body which may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and stroke etc.Many research reveal that the changes in the life style, dietary behavior and physical activity patterns, environmental and societal phenomenon, policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution marketing, and education are associated with the obesity. Children are often found glued to smart phones or any other gadgets, which drastically reduces outdoor activities and leading them to be obese.
A research papercorrelates obesity of adolescents with television viewing and sedentary behaviors. It has been revealed that the television viewing more than two hours a day is associated with the childhood obesity. Television viewing encourages excess calorie intake because they eat during television watching which increases consumption of energy-dense foodincluding junk food that are more often advertised on television and decreasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. It also decreases physical activity and reduces resting energy expenditure.
A study conducted at HarvardSchool of Public Health showsthat the teenagers who spent more than five hours a day in front of screened devices do not get enough sleep or exercise and were 43 percent more likely to be obese than those who spent less timeusing their screened devices.Similarly, the persons who consume artificial sweeteners regularly are two and half times more likely to be obese than non-users. Likewise,a child may lead to obesity within a year if, the mother consumes artificial sweeteners regularly in the gestation period.
Critical analysis of available data shows that almost half of all obese children under five years live in Asia and Africa and are most likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a very younger age. World Health Organization (WHO) said that the Children in low and middle income countries are more vulnerable to inadequate pre-natal, infant, and young child nutrition. According to WHO,global childhood obesity has been increased from 4% to 18% since 1975AD and more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and above were overweight in 2016. Similarly, 650 million adults, 41 million children under the age of 5 years, 340 million children and adolescents with age group 5-19 years were obese in 2016.
Recommendation for the prevention of childhood obesity:
WHO Global Strategy on diet, Physical activity and health was initiated in 2004to address the problem and the programs are being conducted across the world. In context of Nepal, the national health policy 2071, a complete revision of the national health policy 2048 has assured health as a fundamental right of the citizens. But, the situation of childhood obesity, a risk factor of many non-communicable diseases is in increasing trend. So, the governmental and non-governmental organizations should conduct the obesity surveillance programs through a strategic collaboration among service provider, beneficiaries and stakeholders. Author: Devraj Regmi
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