Obese Kids Are 10 Times More Common Than 40 Years Ago

That's 124 million obese children

Obese Kids Are 10 Times More Common Than 40 Years Ago Image: Pixabay

Childhood obesity rates are more than 10 times higher than 40 years ago, British researchers have found.

In a study published this week in the Lancet, the number of obese children and adolescents blew out to 124 million in 2016 – quite a few belt buckle notches more than the 11 million considered to be obese back in the 1975, The Australian reports.

Professor of Global Environment Health at Imperial College Majid Ezzati in London found “obesity rates” had levelled out in in Western countries including Australia, but urged governments to develop initiatives to “change eating and drink behaviours”.

"Most importantly, very few policies and programs attempt to make healthy foods such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables affordable to poor families,” he said.

"Unaffordability of healthy food options to the poor can lead to social inequalities in obesity, and limit how much we can reduce its burden."

The research found 5.6 per cent of girls and 7.8 per cent of boys were obese in 2016, with countries in the Pacific Islands inclusive of the Cook Islands and Nauru the worst offenders.

Obesity in adults is measured through your body mass index, or a calculation between weight and height.

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the healthy weight range, with 25 to 29.9 considered overweight and 30 and over obese, with the thresholds lower for children and adolescents.