Around the world, 41 million children under the age of 5 are obese or overweight according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And since 1990, the number of obese or overweight children around the world has grown by 10,000,000.
As if that wasn’t bad enough….the majority of that expansion has happened in developing countries…countries with fewer financial resources to help reverse this trend.
Why is this happening?
According to the WHO, the explosion in obesity rates of childhood obesity in developing countries is due to globalization and urbanization.
Or in other words…we took one of the crappiest parts of our society and spread it all around the world. Yay us.
Specifically, the WHO identifies the marketing & consumption of processed food and drinks factor responsible for the increase in global childhood obesity.
The report said that the global childhood obesity epidemic had the potential to reverse many recent health gains made across the globe and called on governments to address what it called a major health challenge.
“WHO needs to work with governments to implement a wide range of measures that address the environmental causes of obesity and overweight, and help give children the healthy start to life they deserve,” said Peter Gluckman, ECHO co-chair.
Among its recommendations, the WHO said governments should:
- promote healthy foods,
- promote increased physical activity and
- promote healthy school environments
The greatest obstacle to effective progress on reducing childhood obesity is a lack of political commitment and a failure of governments and other actors to take ownership, leadership and necessary actions.
Governments must invest in robust monitoring and accountability systems to track the prevalence of childhood obesity. These systems are vital in providing data for policy development and in offering evidence of the impact and effectiveness of interventions.
The Commission would like to stress the importance and necessity of tackling the complex issue of childhood obesity. WHO, international organizations and their Member States, as well as non-State actors, all have a critical role to play in harnessing momentum and ensuring that all sectors remain committed to working together to reach a positive conclusion.
The WHO has identified a series global health issue, but like the carpenter who thinks that the solution to every problem is a hammer and a nail, the WHO is suffering from a great big case of confirmation bias.
While I agree that all the groups listed above have a responsibility to do their part in reducing global childhood obesity, the WHO neglects to hold PARENTS responsible for their part in this cluster-fudge.
As the father of an almost-one-year-old baby girl, I am royally pissed off that she will be inundated with messages 24-7 that the consumption of junk food is essential to living a happy life full of fun & friendship.
And I’m also not happy that quasi-governmental bodies allow industry to help develop the official government endorsed “health-eating plans.”
And don’t even get me started on CEOs that put short-term bumps in share price over the health of the children who consume their food products. Companies are made up of people…and if those people don’t care about my kid, I have no problems using social media to publicly shame them and encourage parents to make healthier choices.
Okay…that’s enough ranting for today.
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