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One in 10 obese children to be from India by 2030, says report

By 2030, India will have the prevalence of approximately 10.81% childhood obesity among 5-9 year age group, and around 6.23% prevalence of obesity among teenagers in the age group of 10-19 years. (Photo: iStock)Premium
By 2030, India will have the prevalence of approximately 10.81% childhood obesity among 5-9 year age group, and around 6.23% prevalence of obesity among teenagers in the age group of 10-19 years. (Photo: iStock)

  • Childhood obesity is now a growing public health concern in low and middle-income countries where early prevention is critical. The biggest increase between 2020 and 2030 is likely to be seen in LMICs, where the number of children with obesity will more than double during this decade

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NEW DELHI: India is expected to have over 27 million children with obesity by 2030, according to a new report released by the World Obesity Federation.

This represents over half of the children with obesity in the region, and one in 10 of all obese children globally, according to the report by the Federation that works in association with the World Health Organization (WHO).

These figures presented in report are alarming for India as the country is not likely to meet World Health Organization’s (WHO) commitment to halt the rise in childhood obesity by 2025.

According to the report, by 2030, India will have the prevalence of approximately 10.81% childhood obesity among 5-9 year age group, and around 6.23% prevalence of obesity among teenagers in the age group of 10-19 years.

“Obesity is the core associate for pre-mature mortality and has become the true silent pandemic. It is no longer a symptom but a disease. Around 39% of world’s adult population is over-weight and it is expected that 20%of world’s population will be classified as true obese, by 2025," said Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, a senior pediatrician and chairman of Nephron Clinics.

“The incidence of obesity in children has increased 600% to 700% from 1975 to 2016. The incidence of pediatrics over-weight cases is approximately 25% in urban India. Childhood obesity is now called an obesogenic environment. A fat and cuddly child is no longer a healthy child. Fatter is not better, it is for worse," Bagai added.

Experts say that childhood obesity is lagely an urban phenomenon.

Dr. Vivek Bindal, head of bariatric and robotic surgery department at Max Hospital, said it was a matter of grave concern especially in urban areas.

“We do a lot of activities to educate people on the increasing incidence of childhood obesity. We must ensure that screen time should be cut down to less than 60 minutes per day. During covid times, kids have become addicted to it because of the online classes. There should be limitation of junk food for children and kids should do 2 hours of physical activity per day. In Delhi, we did a survey and we found that 30% of private school going children were overweight. This is an alarming figure," said Dr. Bindal.

“Obesity is a growing issue in young children between 1 and 10 years. When BMI of a child goes above 30, they are considered obese. The major reason for the rise of obesity among children in recent times is multifaceted. Closure of school resulted in lower physical activity, which was complemented by poor dietary habits," added Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, senior consultant physician at Motherhood Hospital.

Childhood obesity is now a growing public health concern in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) where early prevention is critical, the report stated. The biggest increase between 2020 and 2030 is likely to be seen in LMICs, where the number of children with obesity will more than double during this decade.

“Over 80 million children aged 5-9 years and over 110 million children aged 10-19 years from middle-income countries are expected to be affected by obesity by 2030," the report said.

According to experts, an obese child is at risk of cardiac diseases when she grows old.

“When these children grow old, they are at a major risk of developing cardiac diseases, juvenile diabetes and so on. It is important for parent to take childhood obesity and seriously for take steps for obesity prevention and management. Kids should be engaged in daily physical activity along with a healthy and balanced diet full of proteins and vitamins," said Dr Rajan.

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