Africa makes 25 percent of the world’s 41 million obese children

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As it stands the The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity statistics show that 41 million children under five are either over weight or obese.

“So for 2014 it has been estimated that there are 41 million children who are overweight and obese under five years of age. Forty-eight percent of these live in Asia and 25 percent in Africa and prevalence is on the rise.” Dr. Sania Nishtar, Commission co-chair, Ending Childhood Obesity

The number of overweight children under five in Africa has almost doubled since 1990 from 5.4 million to 10.3 million. The sharp increase has been occassioned by marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages, which rose from 31 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2014, particularly in the developing world, with the greatest rise coming from low- and middle -income countries.

“There is no doubt that the private sector has had a major role to play in developing this highly processed, energy dense, nutritional environment we all face now,but there is no reason why they can’t play a positive role. We need the right combination of carrots, to encourage them to make healthy foods, and sticks to reduce the marketing and penetration of non-healthy foods. We need that balance to be right, because we need the food sector, the retails sector, to maintain food security in all countries.” Sir Peter Gluckman, Commission co-chair, Ending Childhood Obesity

The report urges WHO to institutionalize a cross-cutting and life-course approach to ending childhood obesity, recommends that non-Governmental organizations raise the profile of the problem, and calls on the private sector to support the production of and improved access to healthy foods and beverages.