The Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Childhood obesity affects both developed and developing countries of all socio-economic groups , irrespective of age , sex or ethnicity . It has been estimated that worldwide over 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese , and one in 10 children is overweight .

A wide range of prevalence levels exist , with the prevalence of overweight in Africa and Asia averaging well below 10 per cent and in the  Americas and Europe above 20 per cent .

 Indian data regarding current trends in childhood obesity are emerging. A recent study conducted among 24,000 school children in south India showed that the proportion of overweight children increased from 4.94 per cent of the total students in 2003 to 6.57 per cent in 2005 demonstrating the time trend of this rapidly growing epidemic .

 Socio – economic trends in childhood obesity in India are also emerging . A study from northern India reported a childhood obesity prevalence of 5.59 per cent in the higher socio – economic strata when compared to 0.42 per cent in the lower socio-economic strata .

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obesity in children and adolescents –