The World Will Have More Obese than Underweight Children by 2022

The media has long warned Americans of the effects of obesity on our health, but a new study led by researchers at Imperial College London and the World Health Organization warns that the issue is particularly concerning for children on a global level. In those aged five to 19, obesity rates have risen tenfold in the last 40 years, leading to a prediction that if trends continue as they are, more children will be obese than underweight, by 2022. The problem affects countries of all types of income, though rates have stabilized in higher income countries.

Why Are Obesity Rates Spiking in Children?

The researchers blame world food marketing and policies. Healthy, fresh, nutritional foods are often too expensive for poor families, who often opt for fast foods which contain high levels of refined ingredients, salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. The result is that many children are overweight and malnourished at once. Efforts need to be made both on a governmental and an individual level, so that poorer families can have the time and funds they need to prepare healthy foods at home.

The Effects of Obesity on the Future of Children

The rising obesity rate is proving a major burden for public health and for individual families. While in countries like the U.S., most children are covered against illness and other conditions that can result from being overweight, the same cannot be said for those in developing nations. Moreover, the negative health consequences associated with being obese are plentiful and include type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, early puberty, and orthopedic problems. Meanwhile, negative psychological outcomes can include a greater chance of depression, poor body image, an increased risk of eating disorders, and even learning problems.

What Can we Do to Battle Obesity?

Homemade meals are key, as is increasing nutritional awareness in children, who are often fascinated by subjects such as types of fat, the effects on heart health, and the importance of the ethical sourcing of foods.

Parents can help children understand the importance of feeding oneself the right fuel, by teaching them to read nutritional labels, understand where food comes from, and by shopping together at local (preferably organic) markets.

Regular exercise is also key. If weight loss is a goal, aerobic exercise should be accompanied by strength training exercises (kids can lift light weights or do strength exercises in water or use resistance equipment). Building muscle will ensure more calories are burned and will ensure kids stay toned as the pounds begin to fade.

Finally, children can learn to battle stress with meditation or kids’ yoga, to teach them the importance of mindfulness at all times, including during mealtimes.

Parents can often feel helpless in the face of the burden of childhood obesity. On the one hand children can fall prey to marketing techniques that target their penchant for ‘comfort’ and ‘rewarding’ foods. Although change is necessary on governmental levels, individual families can also do their best to provide kids with reasonably priced, homemade meals made with fresh ingredients and healthy fats. Often, making a few change can go a long way towards ensuring a healthy future for children.

About Jammie Morey

Jammie is of Native American descent, she has family from the Ojibway/Chippewa tribe in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. She was born and raised in Michigan. She enjoys doing many things with her family. Some of those activities include geocaching, hiking, fishing, playing games together as a family, and just being silly with her daughter. Jammie is Owner of The Neat Things in Life. For more information visit on Google+.

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