Obe­sity takes toll on youth

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

OBE­SITY is ham­per­ing the stan­dard of liv­ing of chil­dren, with the dis­ease af­fect­ing ever more chil­dren.

This is ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study which found that 1.6 mil­lion South African chil­dren are con­sid­ered obese, in ad­di­tion to 10 mil­lion adults.

The study, which mea­sured over­weight and obe­sity trends be­tween 1990 and 2015 in close to 200 coun­tries world­wide, found that 107 mil­lion chil­dren are liv­ing with obe­sity glob­ally. While this fig­ure is lower than that seen among adults (603 mil­lion), chil­dren and teenagers are gain­ing weight at a much faster rate.

The re­search, which was con­ducted by the New Eng­land Med­i­cal Jour­nal, showed the ris­ing obe­sity rates in the coun­try are crip­pling young peo­ple’s abil­ity to lead healthy lives and fully en­joy their youth.

This is in ad­di­tion to an even higher num­ber of chil­dren and teenagers de­vel­op­ing life-threat­en­ing chronic dis­eases like Type II di­a­betes.

An­other shock­ing find­ing was that South Africa has the high­est obe­sity rates for women in Africa.

With re­gard to the re­search fo­cused on chil­dren, the study con­cluded that a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of many chil­dren’s daily calo­rie in­take is sug­ary drinks like cool drinks and sweet­ened fruit juices.

They found that many par­ents stock the bev­er­ages to put in their kids’ school lunch bags and to have with din­ner.

Con­se­quently, the es­ca­lat­ing weight of youths puts them at greater risk of de­vel­op­ing other non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, as well as sev­eral can­cers, later in life.

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