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About 91 Million Children Worldwide May be Obese by 2025, Study Suggests

Oct 10, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
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Childhood Obesity
Researchers estimate up to 268 million children to be overweight by 2025, including 91 million that can be counted as obese.
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that the number of children aged five to seven years old that are overweight may reach up to 268 million worldwide, including 91 million that can be considered as obese, by 2025.

The study, published in the Pediatric Obesity, based their estimates on the assumption that no policy interventions have proven effective at changing the current rising trends of childhood obesity. With the rise of obesity in children, the researchers also estimate increase in obesity-related conditions among children including impaired glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and hepatic steatosis.

"These forecasts should sound an alarm bell for health service managers and health professionals, who will have to deal with this rising tide of ill health following the obesity epidemic," said Dr. Tim Lobstein, Head of Policy at the World Obesity Federation and co-author of the study, in a press release. "In a sense, we hope these forecasts are wrong: they assume current trends continue, but we are urging governments to take strong measures to reduce childhood obesity and meet their agreed target of getting the levels of childhood obesity down to 2010 levels before we get to 2025."

For the study, the researchers assessed the prevalence of obesity by 2025 using data prepared by the Global Burden of Disease collaborative for 2000 and 2013. Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated that the prevalence of obesity among children aged five to seven years old would rise 5.4 percent from 4.9 percent in 2013. Additionally, the prevalence of overweight children would also increase to 15.8 percent in 2025 from 14.2 percent in 2013.

Furthermore, the researchers forecast that more children will suffer from obesity-related illnesses by 2025. These include up to 12 million children with impaired glucose intolerance, four million with type 2 diabetes, 27 million with hypertension and 28 million with hepatic steatosis or the build-up of fat in the liver.

With their findings, researchers recommend health care providers to come up with a plan to tackle significant increase in obesity-linked comorbidities in case the 2025 target of the Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition is not met.

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