A new report and study has shown that childhood obesity has increased greatly over the past 40 years. Since 1975, childhood obesity has increased ten-fold. The 2016 obesity rates for children showed an increase from 1% in the 1970s to 6% for girls and 8% for boys. What was believed to be a relatively new Western problem has been shown to be a worldwide problem in the past decade. Countries that had not been exposed to childhood obesity rates before are now seeing staggering jumps in occurrences.
The problem with childhood obesity is the lack of attention being provided by the countries with the highest rates. Researchers believe that this lack of attention is setting up the future generation for a multitude of health problems, which increases medical care costs to all individuals. Not included in the high rates of childhood obesity is the amount of children who are overweight. 213 million children are considered overweight, which could lead to obesity or an increase in lifestyle diseases.
However, while many issues struggle with the rates of childhood obesity, there are still some countries struggling with underweight and malnourished children. In South Asia, nearly 60 million children are underweight. These children are left without adequate supplies of food, showing a huge disparity across the world. There are 200 million children around the world who are considered underweight.
Researchers believe that the disparity between overweight and underweight children can be fixed by providing nutrient-dense and high-quality food to children around the world. Diets high in fat and sugar is leading to more obese children, and lack of food in other parts of the world is leading to severely underweight children. Global initiatives focusing on obesity and malnourishment contain a high level of disconnect, which researchers hope can be fixed in the upcoming years.