Child and teen obesity spreading across the globe

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He pointed out that while obesity prevalence among the most affluent United Kingdom children had fallen slightly in the last 10 years, it had steadily risen among the poorest. United States is 15th out of 200 countries studied.

Dr. Nathalie Farpour-Lambert, the president-elect of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said in a statement that obesity in childhood has a tendency to continue into adulthood, so that most who are obese as children will be obese into adulthood.

Overall, one in every five children on the planet is either obese - meaning more than two standard deviations from the median on growth charts - or overweight - meaning more than one standard deviation.

Current rates of childhood obesity are highest among many Polynesian islands, the USA, and many countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

"Rates of child and adolescent obesity have increased significantly over the past four decades in most countries in the world", study author James Bentham said in a journal news release.

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The percentage of Indian adults living with obesity is set to jump to around 10 per cent (3.1 per cent male and 6.9 per cent female) by 2025 from 7.5 per cent (2.3 per cent male and 5.2 per cent female) in 2014, the new analysis, ahead of World Obesity Day on Wednesday, revealed.

Experts divide people into body mass categories calculated on the basis of their weight-to-height ratio.

For girls, the tally swelled from five million to 50 million. And while obesity rates have mostly plateaued in higher income countries, they remain "unacceptably" high.

But the scientists found kids are getting heavier in parts of Asia, north Africa and the Middle East.

There are now 10 times as many obese children and teens around the world than there were 40 years ago, and if current trends continue, there will soon be even more kids dangerously overweight than underweight, according to a new World Health Organization study.

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Prof Bull was speaking at a briefing in London to launch both the WHO report and a major study highlighting soaring rates of childhood and adolescent obesity around the world. The red and orange on the Polynesia and Micronesia chart represent children who are overweight or obese; green indicates those who are at a healthy weight.

The number of underweight girls and boys worldwide has been decreasing since a peak in the year 2000. Almost two-thirds of these youngsters were in South Asia.

While obesity rates among young people in Europe and the USA were said to have plateaued, the authors stressed it was still a serious problem in these regions.

Ezzati said the transition from underweight to overweight and obesity can happen quickly, referring to an influx of nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods in developing nations.

"The promotion and the price and the specials, the two-for-ones, the super-sizing - these are the problems that drive overweight and obesity, over-consumption". "Even though we may see some signs of improvement, we can not be complacent, and we need to ramp up our actions much more significantly to act across the life-course and across all of society", said Harry Rutter, a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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