Issue of childhood obesity must be addressed now
If nothing is done, by 2022, the world will have 192 million over-weight children and teenagers
Six million obese boys aged between five and 19 four decades ago to 74 million in 2016. Five million obese young girls 40 years ago to 50 million of them today. Has the world tipped into an obesity epidemic? These numbers, born of a study by the Imperial College of London and the World Health Organisation, certainly suggest so. The numbers possess a seismic shock value that must now get governments, societies and communities to do something about it, especially in the low and middle-income countries that the report says are severely impacted by the problem. The most important truth about childhood obesity is that beyond its genetic origins, everything else about it is due to the culpability of governments and the junk food industry, with the latter particularly playing an influential role in childhood dietary pursuits.
This health crisis, of national and international proportions, unfortunately, is not exactly a revelation. In fact, it has been in the making for some years now with no counter-force to halt it in its tracks. But it is possible to stop it. The counter-force can be generated by governments and societies with elemental building blocks of policy such as junk food industry regulations, education, prevention and solution-driven programmes at the grass-roots level to achieve a turnaround. At the micro level, awareness created in family units on the right nutrition and physical exercise required to keep children healthy will produce a discernible macro-level difference. All this calls for a collaborative endeavour at the national, state and civic levels by countries. The reductionist aim is simple: Make parents the enablers of their children’s health. Otherwise, by 2022, the world will have 192 million obese children and teenagers.