Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is reaching alarming proportions in many countries and poses an urgent and serious challenge. The Sustainable Development Goals, set by the United Nations in 2015, identify prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases as core priorities. Among the noncommunicable disease risk factors, obesity is particularly concerning and has the potential to negate many of the health benefits that have contributed to increased life expectancy.
Taking action on childhood obesity report
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious global public health challenges of the 21st century, affecting every country in the world. In just 40 years the number of school-age children and adolescents with obesity has risen more than 10-fold, from 11 million to 124 million (2016 estimates). In addition, an estimated 216 million were classified as overweight but not obese in 2016. In response, all countries have agreed a set of global targets for halting the increase in obesity.
Understanding the causes of obesity is complex. What we eat and how much we move are direct results of the many individual choices we make each day. Obesity prevention efforts have often focused on trying to influence such individual choices as if they were conscious and rational. However, these choices are strongly influenced by complex sets of contextual elements, including unhealthy and unsupportive physical, social, cultural, economic, and political environments. This is especially relevant for children and adolescents, who have lower levels of behavioural autonomy than adults do. To be successful in reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, we need to move towards comprehensive policies addressing the food and physical activity systems and environments surrounding us, reshaping the context to make healthy choices the easiest and most widely preferred.