Ten times more kids are obese now than in 1975

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The scientists in the United Kingdom and at the World Health Organization led an analysis of data from more than 2,400 studies that tracked the height and weight of about 32 million children from 5 to 19 years old.

Looking at the broader picture, this equated to roughly 5.6% of girls and 7.8% of boys being obese past year.

If current trends continue, in 2022 there will be more obese children and teenagers worldwide than underweight ones, who now number 192 million, half of them in India, the study said.

East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have seen a shift from underweight to obesity within the space of a few decades.

"The promotion and the price and the specials, the two-for-ones, the super-sizing - these are the problems that drive overweight and obesity, over-consumption".

Polynesia and Micronesia had the highest rates of child obesity previous year, 25.4 percent in girls and 22.4 percent in boys, followed by "the high-income English-speaking region" that includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain. In that income group, the United States had the highest obesity rates.

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The study, led by the Imperial College London (UK) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), was published ahead of World Obesity Day (October 11) in the Lancet.

Being underweight comes with its own health consequences among children and adolescents, including a greater risk of infectious disease and potential harm during pregnancy for adolescents and women old enough to have children.

Over the past four decades, many countries underwent a "nutrition transition" as their economies grew, explained Hu.

The percentage of Australian adult men and women living with obesity was around 27 per cent three years ago.

Do you think cheap junk food and expensive healthy food is to blame?

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The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has jumped tenfold in the past 40 years and the rise is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia, a major study said on Wednesday. "But, our data also show that the transition from underweight to overweight and obesity can happen quickly in an unhealthy nutritional transition, with an increase in nutrient-poor, energy-dense foods".

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"We are surrounded by environments which market unhealthy, high fat, high sugar, high calorie food".

It is the largest ever study of its kind.

The raft of guidelines call for disadvantaged communities to be given better access to healthy foods and for measures to ensure that physical activity is part of the "daily routine and curriculum" in schools and other child-care facilities.

"This data is stating what we have already said, but now quantifying the magnitude of the problem", said Waqanivalu.

"We have not become more weak-willed, lazy or greedy".

In Australia, the average BMI for boys was 18.6 in 1975 and 18.3 for girls, while past year it was 20.4 for boys and the same for girls, which is in the normal range, but the government's own statistics say that one in five Aussie kids are now overweight or obese.

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A new World Health Organization report, Ending Childhood Obesity, urges governments to act to limit the marketing of unhealthy high-calorie and sugar-laden food products and drinks aimed at children.

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