Baku. 3 November. REPORT.AZ/ Childhood obesity does not arise from lifestyle choices made by the child, the World Health Organization (WHO) says, stressing that the huge problem, especially in developing countries on the marketing of sugar-rich non-alcoholic beverages, ultra-processed, energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods.
“Childhood obesity can erode the benefits that arrive with social and economic progress,” Report informs, WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan told the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which is meeting in Hong Kong: “Childhood obesity must be accepted as a significant and urgent threat to health that is relevant in all countries. Governments must take the lead.”
Dr. Chan praised the interim report on the work carried out thus far by the Commission and commended the group’s warning that “voluntary initiatives are not likely to be sufficient.”
“To be successful, efforts aimed at reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages need support from regulatory and statutory approaches,” she said.
She also noted that “perhaps most importantly, you defined a moral responsibility and stated where it must lie. None of the factors that cause obesity are under the control of the child.”
According to WHO, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 42 million in 2013. In Africa alone, the number of overweight or obese children increased from 4 to 9 million over the same period.
The WHO fact sheet on childhood obesity also said that the vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, and if current trends continue the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025.
“Childhood obesity does not arise from lifestyle choices made by the child,” the WHO chief said. “It arises from environments created by society and supported by government policies. The argument that obesity is the result of personal lifestyle choices, often used to excuse governments from any responsibility to intervene, cannot apply to childhood obesity.”