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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-54

Childhood obesity: A challenge of the 21 st century

ICMR Advanced Centre of Reverse Pharmacology in Traditional Medicine, Kasturba Health Society-Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission06-Nov-2013
Date of Web Publication30-Dec-2013

Correspondence Address:
Hiteshi Dhami-Shah
Kasturba Health Society-Medical Research Centre, IMCR Advanced Centre of Reverse Pharmacology in Traditional Medicine. 17 K.D Road, Vile Parle West, Mumbai - 400 056, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-9906.123931

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How to cite this article:
Dhami-Shah H. Childhood obesity: A challenge of the 21 st century. J Obes Metab Res 2014;1:53-4

How to cite this URL:
Dhami-Shah H. Childhood obesity: A challenge of the 21 st century. J Obes Metab Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 7];1:53-4. Available from: http://www.jomrjournal.org/text.asp?2014/1/1/53/123931

Obesity is a serious health challenge of the 21 st Century. It is being faced by not only the developed countries but also by the developing countries. According to the World Health Statistics 2012, one in six adults is found to be obese. There has also been a huge rise in the prevalence of childhood obesity. The global prevalence of childhood obesity has increased from 4.2% (1990) to 6.7% (2010) and is expected to reach 9.1% by 2020. In India, we have already crossed this prevalence in the urban children (vide infra). Traditionally a fat child is seen as a healthy child. However, now there is enough evidence to show that fat child can grow into an obese adult. This in turn increases the risk of many devastating health consequences. The co-morbidities seen in adult obesity are similar to those seen in children. Obesity is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, hyperinsulnaemia, chronic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

It will be hereby worthwhile in this first Research Digest of JOMR to focus on childhood obesity. Hence the Research Digest will cover some of the relevant and recent articles on its prevalence rates of childhood obesity around the world.

Misra A, Shah P, Goel K, Pandey RM, Hazra DK, Gupta R, et al. The high burden of obesity and abdominal obesity in urban Indian school children: A multicentric study of 38,296 children. Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;58(3):203-11.

To study the prevalence of overweight, obesity and abdominal obesity in children a cross-sectional study was conducted in five cities of India. A total of 38,296 children of age ranged between 8 and 18 years were studied. Anthropometric measurements such as height, weight and waist circumference were used to categorise the prevalence as per International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), World Health Organisation (WHO), Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Asian population cut-offs. The percentage prevalence of overweight and obese children was 14.4% and 2.8% by IOTF cut-offs, 14.5% and 4.8% by CDC cut-offs, 18.5% and 5.3% by WHO cut-offs and 21.1% and 12.3% by Asian standards. Nearly 4.5% of children were found to have abdominal obesity. Furthermore, females were found to be comparatively more obese and overweight than males (P<0.001).

Khadilkar VV, Khadfilkar AV, Cole TJ, Chiplonkar SA, Pandit D. Overweight and obesity prevalence and body mass index trends in Indian children. Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011;6(2):e216-24.

The study estimated the prevalence of overweight and obesity in healthy children aged 2 to 17 years. A total of 20,243 urban children from high socio-economic strata were studied. They were selected from five zones of India: Central (823), Eastern (92), Northern (526), Southern (357) and western (445). International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and WHO cut-offs were used to calculate the percentage prevalence of obesity. The result showed an overall ubiquity of 18.2% and 23.9% by IOTF and WHO standards respectively. Furthermore, boys were found to be comparatively more overweight and obese than girls.

Phatale P, Phatale H. Prevalence of pre-diabetes, diabetes, pre-hypertension, and hypertension in children weighing more than normal. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;16 Suppl 2:S483-5.

A total of 286 children aged 3-18 years were first categorised into overweight and obese children as per Centres for Disease Control body mass index percentile charts. They were examined for presence of pre-diabetes, diabetes, pre-hypertension and hypertension. It was found that 31.1%, 16.3%, 52.5% and 3.27% of the overweight children (n=61) were pre-hypertensive, hypertensive, pre-diabetic and diabetic respectively. On the other hand, 33.9%, 20.07%, 64.3% and 3.8% of obese children (n=225) were pre-hypertensive, hypertensive, pre-diabetic and diabetic. The brief communications by the authors reflect the increasing burden of co-morbidities in obese children.

Xu H, Li Y, Liu A, Zhang Q, Hu X, Fang H, et al. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among children from six cities of China. BMC Public Health 2012;12:13.

A total of 8,764 children (4,495 boys and 4,269 girls) aged 7-17 years were from the six cities of Harbin (Northeast China), Beijing (North China), Jinan (East China), Shanghai (East China), Chongqing (West China) and Guangzhou (South China). International Diabetes Federation guidelines were used for diagnosing metabolic syndrome in children. It was seen that obese children were at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome than overweight (6.6% vs. 0.9%, P < 0.01) and normal weight (6.6% vs. 0.05%, P < 0.01) children. The percentages of children diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in obese, overweight and normal category were 25.0%, 5.4% and 0.9% respectively. There was a high incidence of central obesity (93.4% vs. 37.0% vs. 1.1%), low levels of high-density lipoprotein (16.5% vs. 6.1% vs. 3.3%), high levels of triglycerides (14.3% vs. 10.0% vs. 4.0%), high blood pressure (7.3% vs. 4.2% vs. 1.7%) and hyperglycaemia (4.0% vs. 3.3% vs. 2.5%) in obese, overweight and normal children respectively.

Welsh JA, Karpen S, Vos MB. Increasing prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among United States adolescents, 1988-1994 to 2007-2010. J Pediatr. 2013;162(3):496-500.

Hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is rising at an alarming rate globally. The Department of Paediatrics, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition from University School of Medicine, Atlanta, hereby used the cross sectional data from the National Health and Examination Survey to estimate the prevalence of NAFLD in adolescents. 12,714 children between the age of 12 and 19 years were studied between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010. Children with chronic hepatitis and hepatotoxic medications were excluded from the study. The survey suspected a 2-fold increase in the prevalence of NAFLD in children over two decades. The increment was from 3.9% in 1988-1994 to 10.7% in 2007-2010 (P < 0.001). In 2007-2010, around 48.1% of obese male children were suspected with NAFLD.

Schmidt Morgen C, Rokholm B, Sorensen TI, Sjöberg Brixval C, Schou Andersen C, Geisler Andersen L, et al. Trends in prevalence of overweight and obesity in Danish infants, children and adolescents - Are we still on a plateau? PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e69860.

Childhood obesity is at a rapid rise in countries such as Mexico, India, China, Canada and Vietnam. There is an exponential increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity since 1970. The current study shows a plateau in the prevalence of childhood obesity in many developed countries (European, US and Australia) including Denmark. 45,549 children aged range between 4 and 10 months and 8,255 children aged between 5 and 7 years were included in the study. In the 4-10 months of age group, 1.2-7.3% of the infants were found to be overweight and 0.0-1.2% of infants were obese between the years 1998 and 2010. In the children aged between 5 and 7 years, 12.0-20.4% children were overweight and 1.7-5.0% children were obese showing a declining trend in obesity in children of this age group.


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