Liverpool experts help raise the alarm on soaring levels of childhood obesity

Global research led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation included data from Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool City Council. Tony McDonough reports

Obesity is on the rise across the world, the study says


Researchers in Liverpool have contributed to a study revealing the number of obese young people across the world has risen tenfold in the past four decades.

The analysis, led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation focused on children and adolescents aged from five to 19.

Data from the award-winning Liverpool John Moores University Physical Activity Exchange and the Liverpool City Council SportsLinx study was included within the analysis.

It looked at weight and height measurements from nearly 130m people aged over five (31.5m people aged five to 19, and 97.4m aged 20 and older), the largest number of participants ever involved in an epidemiological study.

If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

More than 1,000 researchers contributed to the study, which looked at body mass index (BMI) and how obesity has changed worldwide from 1975 to 2016.

Dr Lynne Boddy, head of the Physical Activity Exchange, said: “The huge rise in childhood obesity is a major, global public health issue, while the high levels of underweight children and adolescents identified remain deeply concerning.

“While access to healthy, nutritious foods is of the utmost importance, addressing high levels of physical inactivity and sedentary time are also key to improving the health and wellbeing of children globally.

“To tackle these issues evidence based, targeted interventions are needed urgently”.

The paper presents the first ever comprehensive data on underweight through to obesity for children and adolescents aged five to 19 years. It provides findings on changing obesity rates in this age group worldwide.

The paper and the appendix can be viewed by clicking here.

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