Childhood obesity is rising exponentially

Only one in 10 countries has even a 50 per cent chance of meeting WHO targets on child obesity.

The number of obese children globally is predicted to reach 250 million by 2030, up from 150 million now. Only one in 10 countries has even a 50 per cent chance of meeting the World Health Organization target of no rise in child obesity from 2010 to 2025.

The chances of 156 of the 191 countries studied achieving the target are less than 10 per cent, according to the World Obesity Federation, which has compiled the data in the first Childhood Obesity Atlas.

“The continuing increase in childhood obesity will overwhelm the health services of many countries. The increase shows a critical failure of government to respect and protect our children’s rights to good health,” said the federation.

Tim Lobstein, one of the authors of the report, told The Guardian that governments were acting slowly or not at all and there was strong resistance to intervening against commercial interests.

“There may be a certain fatigue in listening to these figures getting worse and worse, but doing nothing is going to cost an awful lot more than making serious interventions in the marketplace to reduce the global marketing of soft drinks and ultra-processed foods,” he said.