Global obesity levels in children rise tenfold
Pressure is now mounting on the government to take action against big sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks brands.
Rates of obesity in children and teenagers around the world are 10 times higher than they were 40 years ago, according to a global study.
As part of world obesity day researchers have pooled together more than two thousand studies, looking at BMI and obesity, with the results being published in the Lancet Medical Journal.
Between 1975 and 2016 the estimated number of obese boys in the world increased from six million to 74 million. For girls figures rose from five million to 50 million.
Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, whose team contributed to the research, told Sky News: "Whilst there have been some initiatives led by governments, communities and schools to raise awareness about child and adolescent obesity, most high income countries have been reluctant to use taxes and industry regulations to change eating and drinking behaviours to tackle child obesity."
It is mainly developing countries that have seen a rise in obesity levels.
In Europe and the United States, figures have plateaued.
Nonetheless, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests childhood obesity is still growing in the poorest communities in the UK, with one in 10 young people now classed as obese in this country.
In cities like Bristol, healthy schools programmes have been introduced.
At Hillcrest Primary pupils are taught about the importance of a balanced diet and keeping active. But with increasing pressures, particularly on young girls, to conform to certain stereotypes, teachers say it's all about striking the right balance.
Deputy Head, Bridget Norman said: "I think children, no matter what age, are always thinking about their appearance and how they look but I think so long as we focus on the positive side, about healthiness, rather than the vanity side then it's ok."
In PE lessons at Hillcrest children said they did not like the idea of being plump or fat and so exercise was important to them, as was limiting sugary treats.
There is now mounting pressure on the government to take action against big sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks brands, who spend more than £140m on advertising each year.
The government itself is only able to spend a fraction of that on promoting healthy eating campaigns.
The WHO also recommends that countries introduce taxes on sugary drinks, as well as clear packaging labels and a ban on unhealthy snacks that are often provided in schools.
There is a concern that younger generations are obsessed not only with smart phones and computer screens, but also sugar.
Many believe that could cripple the NHS in the years to come and damage the health of future generations.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "It's taken many years for us to reach this point and change will not happen overnight.
"England is at the forefront of addressing childhood obesity - our sugar reduction programme and the Government's sugar levy are world-leading but this is just the beginning of a long journey to tackle the challenge of a generation."
October 12, 2017
Sources:` Sky News
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