Childhood obesity in developing countries: epidemiology, determinants, and prevention

Childhood obesity in developing countries: epidemiology, determinants, and prevention

Rapidly changing dietary practices and a sedentary lifestyle have led recently to increasing prevalence of childhood obesity (5–19 yrs) in developing countries. Important determinants of childhood obesity include high socioeconomic status, residence in metropolitan cities, female gender, unawareness and false beliefs about nutrition, marketing by transnational food companies, increasing academic stress, and poor facilities for physical activity.

Childhood obesity has been associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the early-onset metabolic syndrome, subclinical inflammation, dyslipidemia, coronary artery diseases, and adulthood obesity.

This paper looks at:

  • prevalence and trends,
  • determinants of overweight/obesity
  • medical and psychosocial consequences of childhood obesity
  • management of Childhood Obesity

The authors argue that therapeutic lifestyle changes and maintenance of regular physical activity through parental initiative and social support interventions are the most important strategies in managing childhood obesity. Also, high-risk screening and effective health educational programmes are urgently needed in developing countries.

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