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Childhood obesity soars worldwide

RIISNG: Child obesity rates increasing across the globe (Photo credit: SPL)

"SHOCKING FIGURES show there are now 124 million obese children worldwide," reports The Guardian.

Records of height and weight in children from 200 countries found the numbers of children who are obese rose from less than 1% in 1975, to 5.6% of girls and 7.8% of boys in 2016.

The numbers of children severely or moderately underweight worldwide has fallen – but not by much (from 9.2% to 8.4% in girls and 14.8% to 12.4% in boys). There were an estimated 192 million severely or moderately underweight children in the world in 2016, mostly in Asia and Africa.

The study was carried out by researchers from the international NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, and the lead researcher is based at Imperial College London.

In the UK, as with other high-income English-speaking countries, the rise in childhood obesity seems to have stabilised in the past decade, albeit at high levels. Around 10% of UK children are estimated to be obese according to this study.

The figures show that some middle- and low-income countries that previously had many underweight children (such as in the Middle East) had "flipped" to having many overweight children.

Children who become overweight or obese in childhood are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. And sadly, research suggests they are more likely to be bullied and have low self-esteem.

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