/ World Obesity Day 2016
Child and adolescent obesity has risen rapidly around the world, with few countries taking action against this damaging health issue which affects later health, educational attainment and quality of life.
The WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity was established by the WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan in 2014. This Commission was tasked with producing a report specifying which approaches and combinations of interventions are likely to be most effective in tackling childhood and adolescent obesity in different contexts around the world. The final report was published in January 2016.
Tackle the obesogenic environment and norms
Reduce the risk of obesity by addressing critical elements in the life-course
Specific Recommendations Made Across 6 Pillars
Promote intake of healthy foods
Early childhood diet and physical activity
Promote physical activity
Health, nutrition and physical activity for school-age children
Preconception and pregnancy care
The prevalence of infant, childhood and adolescent obesity is rising around the world. While levels are plateauing in some countries and regions, the absolute numbers continue to rise, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Obesity can negatively impact on a child’s immediate and long-term health, educational attainment and quality of life. Progress towards ending childhood obesity has been slow and inconsistent around the world.
In May 2012, the 65th World Health Assembly endorsed the Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (ref 2) which had six global nutrition targets to be achieved by 2025, including Target 4: No increase in childhood overweight, which applied to infants and young children up to age 5 years.
In May 2016, the 69th World Health Assembly committed to establishing national strategies to end childhood obesity as recommended by the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.
Treat children who are obese to improve their current and future health
Our Calls to Action
There are 3 clear areas where change needs to happen - outlined below. We have also put our main calls to action into a briefing paper - please download and share this. It would make a useful inclusion if you are writing to your Health Minister.
Governments need to strengthen their leadership to prevent, manage and treat childhood obesity with national childhood obesity strategies
Be based on the WHO ECHO report recommendations, as a minimum standard
Include inter-departmental actions led by ministries of health.
Use SMART actionable measures to meet the WHO targets on obesity and activity, integrated with the Decade of Action on Nutrition and the SDGs.
Monitor and enforce all stakeholders’ commitments.
Support national guidelines for clinical care and management of obesity in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, with the resources for their universal application.
Local services need to take action to prevent childhood obesity
This includes providing:
Health-promoting schools which offer high standards of nutrition, physical activity, health education and community involvement.
Primary health care for women including weight guidance in pregnancy and support for breastfeeding.
Support for healthy infant growth, including maternity leave, baby-friendly hospitals, breastfeeding counsellors, mother and child community facilities.
Health services must take action to manage childhood obesity
This includes providing:
Care pathways for children with weight difficulties, including family based interventions through to bariatric surgery.
Multidisciplinary teams of trained and specialist health care professionals at community level, covering nutrition, physical activity, psychosocial factors.
Universal access to the necessary interventions and follow-up services.