India second on most-obese children list

India second on most-obese children list
India has the world's second highest number of obese children after China, which may trigger health complications in future among the gen-next of the two rising Asian powers, a new study has found.

Out of 107.7 million obese children worldwide in 2015, China tops the list with 15.3 million kids with excess weight, closely followed by India with 14.4 million obese children. Taken together, the two Asian neighbours account for almost one-third of the global obese children population, found the study on the obesity trend in 195 countries in the last 25 years. Obesity was calculated on the basis of the body mass index (BMI) value 30 or more.

No doubt that because of its huge population base, India and China top the list in terms of absolute numbers as the overall obesity prevalence in India is still on the lower side compared to the rich nations. But what is worrying is that the rates have begun to change for the worse.

Between 1980 and 2015, there was a 20% increase in the prevalence of obesity among both boys and girls in countries with a low socio-demographic index.

In the same period, the highest rates of increase were observed in countries with a middle socio-demographic index, signifying how lifestyle changes following prosperity are associated with adverse health consequences. The obesity trend starts rising from 14-15 years of age onwards.  

“Though the rates are not high in India as of now, we do have a problem. The challenge is more complex for us as we have both obesity and under-nutrition,” J S Thakur, a professor at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and one of the Indian contributors in the study told DH.

“Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people. Over the past decade, numerous interventions have been evaluated, but very little evidence exists about their long-term effectiveness,” said Ashkan Afshin, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

The analysis – published in the New England Journal of Medicine - was done by the IHME as part of its Global Burden of Disease programme. Several Indian institutes and Indian Council of Medical Research are associated with the study.

Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among children and young adults was in the United States at nearly 13%. Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%. The lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam at 1% each.

Out of the 603.7 million adult obese population, the US tops the list with 79.4 million, followed by China with 57.3 million.

DH News Service

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