The issue of childhood obesity is one getting more and more urgent, as more and more children are becoming increasingly bigger from earlier ages. A new study points out that children born after 1990 have a far greater chance of becoming obese at an early age.
The study was conducted at the University College London and its findings point out that as the years pass, there are more and more children who are overweight by the age of 10. Furthermore, this age is no longer the start point of the obesity onset, as these patients are becoming younger and younger.
The highest risks of child obesity are the high possibility of developing serious diseases on a longer term, like type-2 diabetes or coronary heart disease. This type of diseases are chronic and therefore the patient has no chance of ever curing them.
Furthermore, the maintenance of these patients amounts to very high costs that are paid every year by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. To point out the grave nature of this issue, they study has managed to project the future costs of the obesity epidemic.
“The obesity epidemic is a daunting public health threat, even in high-income countries with good infrastructure for education and health care”, warned the researchers behind this study. According to their findings, the NHS stands to spend a whopping £22.9 billion a year by 2050.
For this study, the researchers from the University College London have closely studied the medical records of 56,623 patients, both children and adults, dating from 1940 until 2012. The Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated in accordance to their weight and height, so as to determine the patterns of past and present generations.
Their data revealed that back in the 1940’s the age where men commonly became obese was 41. Then, in 1958 it went down all the way to 33 and in 1970 is reached 30. And the pattern continued to drop on this slippery slope, until the issue hit the all-time lows of today.
Unfortunately, the same tendency was observed in women. In 1946, they started becaming obese at the age of 48 and from then the age went down to 44 in 1958 and further down to 41 in 1970, following in the same lines.
And the fact that the obesity age is going down fast is not even the only concern, because this epidemic is not only spreading to younger patients, but also to many more than ever before. The study projected that by 2030, up to three quarters of men will be obese and two thirds of women will be obese.
At the moment, 60% of the UK population is overweight or obese and they are facing an all-time high chance of getting chronic diseases sooner rather than later. There is a glimmer of hope however.
Professor Rebecca Hardy explained that there is other research that there is other research that has found that the risk of acquiring these chronic conditions can be reduced if an overweight person loses weight at any point in his/her life.
Moreover, she put great emphasis on the importance of this happening at an early age, when the risk can be excluded all together. She pointed out that there is great necessity for public health interventions in children, so as to impede the further spread of this epidemic.
Ultimately, this purpose will have to include drastic changes in the type of food offered to children, both at home and at school. Moreover, healthy eating patterns will have to replace the chaotic eating that characterizes today’s generation.
Finally, exercise will have to be given considerably more importance. These three solutions are the only ones able to lead to a successful outcome in the future and in order to preserve their success, they must be implemented rigorously and continuously.
The University College London study has been published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine and its findings should be regarded as extremely concerning not only by the British population, but by the entire world, as the same destructive pattern can be observed in many parts of the world.
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