A Global Epidemic
Childhood Obesity WorldwideChildhood obesity is an epidemic around the globe. In the US, an estimated 17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese. In the last three decades, the percentage of obese children doubled in children ages 2-5 and tripled in children and adolescents ages 6-19. Up to 80% of obese youth become obese adults, who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death in North America.
In the European Union, about 30% of all children are overweight, and over 5 million of them are obese. Some 300,000 children in the EU become obese each year. But obesity is no longer a problem that affects only children in the developed world. The easy availability of cheap, high-calorie, low-nutrition food, along with less-active lifestyles, have made childhood obesity a major health issue in countries all over the world, including China, Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, and many others. Globally, about 10% of all children ages 5-17 are overweight, and 2-3% in that age group are obese, according to the International Obesity Task Force.
Obese kids are more likely to be depressed and have low self-esteem, sleep apnea, insulin resistance, and even type 2 diabetes. If your child has a weight problem, you have reason to be concerned. But there are many ways you can help. With your support, your child can get healthy—and stay healthy.