Recent alarming reports show that there are more than 10 million African children are obese. Apparently, the number one cause of the obesity in Africa is the sweetened beverage.
The World Health Organization reported that in Africa there were only 5.4 million obese kids in 1990. Among other causes were also the social and the economic changes that took place on the warm continent. As more and more rural areas were transformed into urban ones, the children got access to a lot more junk food than before. Also, the kids that were raised in villages had to walk to school and used to play a lot with other neighboring kids outdoors. Once the urbanization came, all that changed. Instead of walking to school, they started to take public transportations and instead of playing outdoors they gained more access to technology and started to play indoors more.
One of WHO’s commission members, Juana Willumsen said that the people became more sedentary and their diets contain a lot of food that is bad not only for the weight, but for the health as well. As many of these countries are still poor, the people living there don’t have access to information on healthy nutrition. Paradoxically, these poor countries face as many malnutrition cases as the obesity ones. Willumsen also said that the kids are given food that is cheap, extremely processed and poor in nutrients. Also, they have been exposed more and more to junk food, which is one of the leading factors of obesity.
WHO’s latest reports show that the obese kids in Africa account for 25% of the obese children in the world(41 million). 50% of the overweight kids under 5 are found in Asia. According to the experts, in the next 10 years, the number of overweight children in the world will reach 70 million. More children could suffer in the future than these estimated numbers, since the organization included in the statistics bans on kids advertisements, taxes on sweetened drinks and the increase of infant breastfeeding.
A researcher from the Wits University in South Africa called Karen Hofman said that the country needs a sugar tax in order to decrease the population’s addiction to sweetened drinks. Unfortunately, more than 50% of the schools in Soweto advertised beverages in schools. The beverage industry in the country opposed the idea and even called it discriminatory.
As more than 10 million African children are obese, something will need to be done quickly, as the situation will only worsen if nothing will be done.
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