The worldwide consumption of fast-food and sugary drinks has increased obesity, diabetes type 2 and high blood pressure cases among children. Reports indicate that more than 3.5 million children worldwide have diabetes type 2. These are medical conditions which were previously seen only among adults. These have resulted in shortened life among children.
According to World Obesity Federation, many children are shorter than normal and weigh more. Children living in urban areas are shorter than the normal height recognized by WHO. Poor diet and lack of exercise are the root causes of obesity and stunting. Fast foods are heavily marketed which means health sectors will struggle in solving these medical issues.
The three countries where children have more obesity issues are Kiribati, Micronesia and Samoa. In 2013, more than 35.5 percent of the children from age 5 to 17 in Egypt were obese. Greece, Saudi Arabia, United States, Mexico and UK reported 31.4, 30.5, 29.3, 28.9 and 27.7 percent accordingly. Type 2 diabetes which was not common in this age group is now prevalent in more than 3.5 million children.
The World Obesity Federation which was responsible for compiling this data also predicted the number to be higher in years to come. The data collected also indicated that 13.5 million children have low levels of glucose tolerance. Therefore, too much consumption easily leads to diabetes. In poor countries, obesity problems go hand in hand with stunting.
Greece and Egypt are expected to have the highest number of obesity cases by 2025. According to the Pediatric Obesity Journal, research findings indicate that more 49 million children will be obese or overweight than in year 2010 worldwide. This is a total of 268 million with 98 million being obese.
Young children are consuming more soft drinks in sedentary environments. Many families living in urban areas consume junk food in environments that don’t allow them to exercise. Young people aged between 11 and 17 fail have no access to sufficient physical activity.
Food advertising is also influencing food choices among many families. The traditional media like TV and new media like internet are used by food and beverage companies to target the young population. These products include snacks, junk food, soft drinks, confectionery and sugary breakfast cereals. These products have a lot of calories, fat, sugar and salt.
Fat children are basically the source of future sales. Food and beverage industry in the US is estimated to be worth 60 million dollars. Very few countries have implemented the healthy eating by 2010. The rest of them don’t care about calorie intake among children. Most of these children are expected to consume junk food to their adult hood.
Obesity accounts for 24 million blood pressure and more than 33 million fatty liver disease cases among children. The fatty liver disease can ultimately lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. This problem is prevailing in both rich and poor countries. Medical bills are expected to go up in order to treat these diseases. Rich countries are struggling to handle each case and poor countries lack medical equipment. Health service managers and professionals need to be alarmed about this epidemic.
Government should take strong measures in order to solve this health problem. They should buckle down and meet their obesity reduction targets sooner. We should review our food supplies especially among middle-income countries. It’s time we stop replacing water with drinks like Chocolate Nesquick, Coca Cola and more. We should stop feeding our children with junk meals like fortified noodles to encourage health growth.
Governments should take action against companies that produce junk food. It should also take measures against marketing of unhealthy food products. They should ensure that schools promote healthy diet and physical activity. There should also be good planning in urban arrears to promote physical activity. Lastly, these polices need to be monitored closely. We expect real change to come as a result of public pressure like what happened with smoking.
Obesity and stunting problems are caused by poor nutrition. The food that children are eating is the heart of obesity and overweight problems. Sugary and fast-foods are posing to be a life threat among children worldwide.
Countries which failed to provide health foods to their children are now being challenged by diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Health is a major key to sustainable development especially in poor countries.