In an indication that no policy interventions have proven very effective at changing current obesity trends, researchers have estimated that globally some 268 million children aged five to 17 years may be overweight by 2025.
On the assumptions of continued population growth given by the World Bank, the study projected a rise from some 219 million children in this age group in 2010 to 268 million children in 2025.
Obesity alone rises from 76 million children in 2010 to 91 million by 2025, the study, published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, said.
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“These forecasts should sound an alarm bell for health service managers and health professionals, who will have to deal with this rising tide of ill health following the obesity epidemic,” said study co-author Tim Lobstein from World Obesity Federation, London.
For the study, the researchers used data prepared by the Global Burden of Disease collaborative for 2000 and 2013.
Timed to coincide with this year’s World Obesity Day, which is observed on October 11, the investigators also released data anticipating that obesity-related conditions will rise among children.
In 2025, up to 12 million children will have impaired glucose tolerance, 4 million will have Type-2 diabetes, 27 million will have hypertension, and 38 million will have hepatic steatosis, or buildup of fat in the liver, the researchers estimated.
“In a sense, we hope these forecasts are wrong: they assume current trends continue, but we are urging governments to take strong measures to reduce childhood obesity and meet their agreed target of getting the levels of childhood obesity down to 2010 levels before we get to 2025,” Lobstein said.
Member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have adopted resolutions aiming to achieve “no increase on obesity levels” by 2025 (based on 2010 levels) for infants, adolescents and adults.
But the researchers concluded that the 2025 targets are unlikely to be met, and health service providers will need to plan for a significant increase in obesity linked comorbidities.