The global prevalence of obesity has doubled from 1990 to 2015. Worryingly, the increase is more in children than in adults. In just three decades, the number of school-going children and adolescents with obesity has increased by 10-fold, and the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) and International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) reckon that 200 million school children worldwide are either overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity among 5- to 19-year-old Indian children, ranged between 3.6 and 11.7%. It is predicted that by 2025 there will be 17 million obese children in India. Urbanisation is the single most important factor linked to obesity in India. Epigenetic, dietary, familial, psychosocial, parental education and parental occupation are other important factors. About 50% of obese children will become obese adults. The prevalence of hypertension, type 2 diabetes dyslipidaemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children is also increasing parallelly. Prevention of childhood obesity is vital because it is near impossible to get children to lose weight and maintain it. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle should start from the pre-conception time itself and be continued through all stages of childhood.
Part of the book: Public Health in Developing Countries