Childhood Obesity Rising

Childhood Obesity RisingChildhood Obesity Rising

Obesity among Iranian children is on the verge of reaching dangerous levels, according to a Health Ministry official.

Around 21% of urban and 13% of rural children aged 7-18 suffer from obesity, based on official statistics.

Moreover, according to a 2015 study, prevalence of abdominal (central) obesity in children under the age of 5 has more than doubled in 10 years, Zahra Abdollahi, the head of the Diet and Nutrition Promotion Office at the ministry, told ISNA.

“A few years ago there was no need to be concerned about this but recent studies suggest that childhood obesity is becoming more prevalent,” she said, adding that if the trend continues unabated, Iran has to brace itself for a sudden increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases among adults in the next 30 to 40 years.

Most Iranian parents mistakenly associate obesity in children with good health. However, the truth is these kids are likely to suffer from NCDs as they grow older.

“The notion that chubby kids are healthy and cute is wrong and must be addressed,” Abdollahi said.

She stressed that raising awareness is paramount to combating obesity and highlighted the “key role” of parents and the media in encouraging children to maintain a healthy diet.  Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social, and emotional health.

Children with obesity are more likely to be bullied and teased by other children, and are vulnerable to suffering from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.

They are also at higher risk for having chronic health conditions and diseases that impact physical health, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease.

Childhood obesity is also associated with having obesity in adulthood, which is linked to a plethora of serious conditions and diseases such including metabolic syndrome and several types of cancer.


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