Global Look at Childhood Obesity (page 2)
Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now increasing dramatically in developing nations. The World Health Organization (WHO) first declared obesity a global epidemic in 1998. By 2005, about 1.6 billion adults and more than 20 million children under age 5 were overweight, and 400 million adults were obese. WHO projects that by 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and over 700 million will be obese. The International Obesity Taskforce provides a strong global perspective on this issue.
Fast Facts Concerning Global Obesity:
- In 2000, for the first time in human history, the number of people in the world who were obese became greater than the number of people suffering from hunger. Currently about 824 million people suffer from chronic hunger while 1.6 billion are overweight.
- Physical inactivity causes 2 million deaths per year.
- One in 10 children, or at least 155 million school-age children worldwide, are overweight or obese, according to the latest estimates from the International Obesity Taskforce.
- In some parts of Africa, overweight children outnumber malnourished children three to one.
- Eighty percent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle income countries.
- Deaths from diabetes are predicted to increase from the 171 million recorded in 2000 to an estimated 366 million in 2030.
- Several studies have found that increasing obesity could lead to decreases in life expectancy in the most affected countries.
- Higher body mass index has been shown to account for up to 16 percent of the global burden of disease, expressed as a percentage of disability-adjusted life years.
- More than 2.5 million deaths each year are attributed to higher BMI, a figure that is expected to double by 2030.
- Although Swaziland is experiencing chronic food shortages, 55% of Swazi women are overweight or obese.
- In northern Africa, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among women is high. For example, 50.9 percent of women in Tunisia and 51.3 percent in Morocco are overweight. Women’s obesity rates of 23 percent in Tunisia and 18 percent in Morocco represent a three-fold increase in 20 years.
The mission of the Rudd Center is very much a global one; stay tuned for updates on our global perspective.
Reprinted with the permission of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University
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