World Obesity Day Articles Annals of Human Biology

Annals of Human Biology

World Obesity Day on 11th October 2017 brought to the fore the trend of increasing overweight and obesity in the global population.  Of particular note is the rapid increase in obesity in children and adolescents in Asia. The World Health Organization reports that in 2015 it was estimated 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight and almost half of all the overweight children in the global population lived in Asia.  Diet and lifestyle changes, largely due to rapid economic development in this area of the world, are viewed as the primary factors responsible for increasing obesity amongst Chinese and Indian children.

A Human Biological Survey recently published in the Annals of Human Biology by Zhou et al. provides an update on the prevalence of overweight and obesity in nearly 30,000 students aged 7-17 years in China in 2015. BMI values were used to compare the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children (7-12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years) at 20.3% and 9.6% respectively. The greater values in children may well be indicative of an increasing overweight and obesity problem prior to adolescence which requires intervention if it is not going to lead to overweight and obesity problems for future adolescents and young adults in China.

This paper forms part of a series of articles published by AHB since 2014 which have investigated overweight and obesity in large samples of children from the Far East.  The results clearly show an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children from this region of the world and call for public health policy interventions to tackle this increasing problem.