The UN World Health Organization has said that the global number of overweight children has reached an alarming level. The organization released a report saying that there are over 41 million children under 5 years old who are obese. The report encompasses more than 100 countries and shows how rapidly the increase occurs, with the number only at 31 million in 1990.
There are several key factors that affect a child’s weight: biological factors, little or no access to healthy foods, a steep decline in physical activity at home and in schools, also the unregulated spread of fattening foods. As obesity is becoming a true epidemic, it is in countries like the Philippines that are affected the worst. Developing nations are hit by unhealthy food, no access to true nutritional meals and a lack of exercise. In 2014, 48 percent of all overweight and obese children under 5 years old lived in Asia.
And really, it’s not the child’s fault!
Governments should treat this as a disease and not just a lifestyle choice. There should be an integrated response among governments, global health institutions, and individuals. Schools in particular should promote exercise and healthy eating. They should be teaching nutritional literacy, and ban energy drinks and unhealthy foods from their campuses.
Parents should also focus on buying healthy food and limiting sleep time and screen time, to make more room for physical activity for children between 2 and 5 years old. Try to give the kids healthy food that they’ll love, so that they will actively seek out food that is good for them. Also, don’t keep your kids in the dark. Let them know that this is a problem, with serious health consequences. We’re not refusing to buy you cake because we’re mean! It’s because we want you to stay healthy!