by Moritz Laqua
On January 25 the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) presented its final report to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, culminating a two-year process to address the alarming levels of childhood obesity and overweight globally. The Commission consulted with over 100 WHO member states during the course of writing this report.
The study which was commissioned by WHO, found that the number of children who are overweight or obese has risen to 41 million, from 31 million in 1990. As of 2014, 48% of the overweight and obese children lived in Asia. These children are more likely to remain obese once they reach adulthood, which predisposes them to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and asthma among other NCDs.
The Commission also presented a wide range of recommendations to WHO and governments around the globe in order to fight overweight and obesity, in an attempt to reduce the economic burden that comes with surging levels of obesity and an ever increasing number of NCD-related deaths.
The Commission strongly recommended a sugary tax, which has already been implemented in Mexico and various other countries (see our article: Taxes on sugary drinks seem to work according to plan). The Commission however also emphasized their view that no single measure will contain the growing epidemic and therefore suggested to also restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks as well as a standardized global nutrient system. Moreover, schools are urged to promote health and nutrition literacy and physical activity.
NCDAPA has been constantly emphasizing the vulnerability of the Asia Pacific Region which bears the brunt of the surging NCD epidemic. The ECHO report underpins our call for immediate and concerted regional and global action in order to fight the growing epidemic.
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