Over the coming decade, childhood obesity is expected to climb drastically worldwide, fuelled by changing lifestyles and the growing popularity of junk food. Particularly in developing countries, traditional diets are becoming more westernized and people are consuming higher levels of fat, sugar, oil and starch. That’s going to result in a considerable increase in obese children and adolescents by 2030, a development that’s expected to overwhelm the health services of many countries. The worrying findings were published in the World Obesity Federation’s Atlas of Childhood Obesity.
Currently, approximately 158 million children and adolescents aged between five and 19 are considered obese. By 2025, that is forecast to climb to 206 million before surpassing 250 million in 2030. While China (62 million), India (27 million) and the United States (17 million) are expected to have the highest number of obese children globally in absolute terms by 2030, smaller countries in the developing world are going to be most at risk. The research found that the island nations of the Cook Islands, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia will have the highest risk levels over the coming ten years.
Childhood obesity is already starting to manifest itself in those countries and by 2030, 46% of all children aged between five and nine in the Cook Islands are expected to be obese. Such alarming rates of obesity aren’t just confined to small Pacific Islands. In China, the child obesity rate is expected to reach 32% in the next ten years while in South Africa, it will be 28%. When it comes to older kids in the 10-19 age bracket, the Cook Islands are once again expected to be number one for obesity by 2030 with 42%. By then, close to a quarter of all U.S. adolescents are also expected to be overweight.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)
Predicted number of children/adolescents aged 5-19 living with obesity worldwide.