Just the Facts - Childhood Obesity According to the WHO
Never-ending aisles of cookies and chips, fast-food restaurants that promote greasy French fries, and unhealthy school lunches that serve pizza and hot dogs; these are some of the factors that are contributing to the rise in childhood obesity statistics.
Childhood obesity has increased dramatically over the past three decades, with cases doubling for preschool children aged 2-5 years, adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. Today, it is estimated that over six million children in the United States are obese.
It is important to know that childhood obesity statistics aren’t just gaining momentum in the United States, but global childhood obesity is also becoming a bigger problem.
With childhood obesity statistics starting to spiral out of control, the World Health Organization is deciding to step in by placing more strict regulations on companies who market unhealthy products.
Since this is not just a national effort, but a global one, governments of different nations are having to buckle down their advertising dollars when it comes to the food industry advertising to children. These include “junk foods” that are high in salt, sugar, and dangerous fats.
Childhood obesity leads to a number of health problems, which most children carry with them into adulthood. In poor countries, unhealthy foods are easier to obtain and are more cost-effective to produce, which leads to higher consumption by children.
With higher consumption of unhealthy foods, comes a higher rate of global childhood obesity cases. Most of these children remain obese, (especially if they live in poor countries), just because they don’t have the resources available to them to learn how to eat healthy.
Instead of using advertising to promote “unhealthy” foods to children, the WHO wants to use advertising to promote healthier alternatives.
In order to promote this effort, top WHO officials approached some of the world’s leading food production companies at a recent global summit in an attempt to get this initiative off the ground.
In order to get advertising to turn in a more “healthy” direction, the WHO must start by presenting their ideas to governments.
A few of these ideas were to recommend a total ban on food industry advertising, and other recommendations were for governments to put more restriction on advertising by different food companies.
No matter if the WHO is stepping in, or if these initiatives happen, it is vital that children are educated about the importance of eating healthy at a young age.
Young children should be taught about proper portions, and a healthy balance of nutrition at a young age. So often, parents do not take advantage of how much children can process at such a young age.
“Children can be taught how to eat the right foods, it just takes patience and the right approach, “says Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., bariatric physician and founding physician behind BistroMD.
“When the seed is planted at a young age about the importance of eating healthy, children have the discipline and education they need to make healthier choices as they grow,” says Dr. Cederquist.
With the initiatives set in motion by the World Health Organization, and by educating your children to make healthier choices, there are ways we can put a stop in rising childhood obesity statistics.