Childhood Obesity in India: Rising Concern on World Obesity Day 2024

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Childhood Obesity in India: Rising Concern on World Obesity Day 2024

| Updated: March 3, 2024 20:12

On March 4, 2024, World Obesity Day will be observed to raise awareness and action on the global epidemic of obesity. In India, obesity is not only a problem among adults, but also among children and adolescents. According to a study, about 1.25 crore children aged 5 to 19 years were overweight or obese in 2022, compared to 40 lakh in 1990. Out of these, 73 lakh were boys and 52 lakh were girls.

Obesity is a form of malnutrition that can have serious health consequences, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It can also affect the mental and social well-being of children and adolescents. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents worldwide increased fourfold from 1990 to 2022, reaching over 100 crore. India’s adult obesity rate also rose significantly, from 1.2% for women and 0.5% for men in 1990, to 9.8% and 5.4% respectively in 2022.

While the proportion of underweight children, adolescents, and adults worldwide has declined over the years, it still remains a major public health challenge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Underweight is another form of malnutrition that can impair growth, development, and immunity. Both obesity and underweight are linked to poor dietary habits, physical inactivity, and environmental factors.

Dr Pradeep Chowbey, Chairman of Max Institute of Laparoscopic, Endoscopic, Bariatric Surgery & Allied Surgical Specialities, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said that obesity is a growing health crisis that needs urgent attention. He urged policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the community to work together to prevent and treat obesity, especially among children and adolescents. He said that bariatric surgery is a proven treatment option for morbid obesity, but it is not enough to address the root causes of the problem. He said that the health of the nation and the economy depends on promoting healthy lifestyles and choices among children and families.

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