If unchecked, childhood obesity to grow to 70 million by 2025

The World Health Organization says the worldwide epidemic is only getting worse, especially in Africa.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND—If current trends continue, the World Health Organization warns there will be 70 million obese children globally by 2025.

WHO reports the number of overweight or obese infants and children has increased from 31 million globally in 1990 to 44 million in 2012. Over the same period, it says the number of obese children in Africa alone has risen from four to 10 million.

Peter David Gluckman co-chairs the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, established by WHO’s director-general, Margaret Chan. Chief science adviser to New Zealand’s prime minister, Gluckman said obese children will grow up to become obese adults, who will suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high rates of cancer and other health problems.

People have to understand that children are not little adults, he said. Therefore, tackling obesity among this group will involve a strategy different from that employed among adults.

There are two main ways to intervene in childhood obesity, Gluckman says that “they go together.”

“It is about optimizing the health of mothers, of women, of girls before they get pregnant. Optimizing the conditions of pregnancy. Promoting good breast feeding and weaning behaviors, much of which has been lost, particularly in Western countries,” he said.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources