A latest study highlights the need for parents to pay attention to the nutritional value of what they give to their children as food or drink.

There is danger in giving them just anything and there is a red alert that has been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Most of these nutrient deficient foods have advertisements that are so enticing and have succeeded in luring parents.

Products marketing, policies and pricing are endangering the lives of children in low and middle-income countries, this recent study by Imperial College London and WHO has shown.

The study analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over 5 years (31.5 million people aged 5 to 19, and 97.4 million aged 20 and older), making it the largest ever number of participants involved in an epidemiological study.


It was published in The Lancet ahead of World Obesity Day, 11 October which happens to be the International Day of the Girl Child.

The report showed that the number of those aged 5 to 9 years that are obese has risen tenfold in the past 4 decades, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated.

If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

At Great Risk

Lead author, Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial’s School of Public Health, says: “Over the past four decades, obesity rates in children and adolescents have soared globally, and continue to do so in low- and middle-income countries.

“More recently, they have plateaued in higher income countries, although obesity levels remain unacceptably high".

Professor Ezzati adds: "These worrying trends reflect the impact of food marketing and policies across the globe, with healthy nutritious foods too expensive for poor families and communities. The trend predicts a generation of children and adolescents growing up obese and at greater risk of diseases, like diabetes.

“We need ways to make healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school, especially in poor families and communities, and regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods”.

In conjunction with the release on the new obesity estimates, WHO will publish a summary of the Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) Implementation Plan.

Also Read: Is Your Child Among The World's 41 Million Obese Children?

The plan gives countries clear guidance on effective actions to curb childhood and adolescent obesity. WHO has also released guidelines calling on frontline healthcare workers to actively identify and manage children who are overweight or obese.

Dr Fiona Bull, programme coordinator for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) at WHO said the world agency “encourages countries to implement efforts to address the environments that today are increasing our children’s chance of obesity.

“Countries should aim particularly to reduce consumption of cheap, ultra-processed, calorie dense, nutrient poor foods.

“They should also reduce the time children spend on screen-based and sedentary leisure activities by promoting greater participation in physical activity through active recreation and sports”.