Unhealthy snacking, fast food bingeing, the promotion of cheap, fattening food, the rise of gadget use and sedentary lifestyles are all to blame for the alarming state of child and teen obesity. This is reflected all over the globe, experts say. A recent study published in the medical journal, The Lancet revealed that a ten-fold increase in obese teens and children worldwide has been observed, particularly in Polynesia and Micronesia. Around 50 percent of the young population in these countries are either obese or overweight. The study was released in time for World Obesity Day.

Treating obesity may cost billions

Experts noted that obese children are more likely to carry on gaining their weight, if not double it by the time they reach adulthood. Such a scenario puts them at risk of developing serious health problems. Researchers from the World Obesity Federation have released a warning that the global costs of treating health diseases caused by obesity will exceed $1,21 billion every year starting in 2025.

The problem of obesity has been observed across the world and in East Asia, India, and China, in particular. Professor Majid Ezzati of the Imperial College of London revealed that in high-income European countries, child obesity rates are stabilizing with one in 10 children aged 5-19 being obese.

If this current world trend continues, researchers believe that being obese will be more common than being underweight.

The researchers also noted that East Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America have all witnessed a shift from an underweight epidemic to obesity in just a few decades. Dr. Harry Rutter of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine noted that the problem is expected to get worse.

He further added that even the skinny people have been observed to be heavier than their original weight a decade ago. He also said that the truth about the issue is that the world is changing.

Obesity statistics multiplied 10 times since 1975

The Lancet study used data from over 2,400 studies to document the BMI of around 130 million children in a span of four decades from 1975 to 2016.

In the study, the number of obese boys went from 6 million to 74 million. The number of obese girls jumped from 5 million to 50 million.

Children in Africa are also becoming more obese, the study noted. In particular, South Africa was seen with the sharpest increase in obese children with a 400 percent rise for every decade. The study also showed the percentage of underweight children worldwide have decreased by around 2.4 percent among boys and less than 1 percent among girls. Ezzati noted that both the obese and the underweight have similar health issues.