Some 14.4 million children in India are affected by obesity, and its occurrence is increasing rapidly
Childhood obesity has grown at a faster rate than adult obesity in many countries (Credit: Thinkstock)
India has the second highest number of obese children in the world, with 14.4 million reported cases, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
China, with 15.3 million obese children, tops the list. The incidence of obesity has doubled since 1980 in over 70 countries of the world, the research finds.
The finding of the study is based on data collected from 68 million people in 195 countries.
Even though the occurrence of obesity among children was lower than adults, childhood obesity has grown at a faster rate than adult obesity in many countries. In 2015, over 2 billion children and adults across the world were overweight. Of these, nearly 108 million children and more than 600 million adults had body mass index (BMI) above 30, which is the threshold for obesity.
Adult obesity was highest in China and the United States while childhood. Adult obesity was higher in women than men of all age brackets, however no such distinction was observed among children and individuals under the age of 20.
High BMI accounted for 4 million deaths globally, nearly 40 per cent of which occurred in persons who were not obese.
During the past decade, researchers have proposed a range of interventions to reduce obesity. Among them is restricting advertising of unhealthy foods to children and improving school meals. In 2015, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi proposed a ban on junk food in schools, however it was not implemented. Recently, the Maharashtra government issued a notification instructing schools to stop serving junk food in their canteens, as it is low in nutrition content and high in salt, sugar and fat.
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