Number of obese children have increased 11 times in four decades

More than 124 million children and adolescents worldwide were obese in 2016, which is 11 times more than 40 years ago.

According to a report by the United Nations and The Lancet magazine, the number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million worldwide in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. Children’s exposure to advertisements and commercials about junk food and sugary drinks is associated with inappropriate food choices and being overweight or obese. Regarding the contribution of ‘marketing’ to childhood obesity, the report suggests that in some countries children see around 30,000 television ads in a single year. “The industry’s self-regulation has failed”, says Anthony Costello, one of the authors of the document, prepared by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the scientific journal The Lancet.

The authors point the finger at what they consider to be the “exploitative practices” of industry marketing, which promotes ‘fast food’ or sugary drinks. Another of the document’s concerns is the exposure of minors to advertising and marketing about alcohol and tobacco consumption. For example, in Australia, children and adolescents continue to be exposed to more than 50 million advertisements for alcoholic beverages for the whole year during the televised broadcast of sports such as football, cricket or rugby.

Also, in the United States, young people’s exposure to advertisements about electronic cigarettes or ‘vaping’ has increased 250% in two years, with advertising reaching more than 24 million minors.

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