Overweight & obesity in children

Globally, the number of overweight and obese children has increased at an alarming rate during the past fourteen years

In 2014 an estimated 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese around the world, up from 31 million in 1990.

In percentage terms the number of overweight or obese children globally has increased from 4.8% to 6.1%.

Almost half of all overweight or obese children under 5 live in Asia and one quarter live in Africa.

In 2013 it was predicted that if current trends continue, the number of children under 5 worldwide who are overweight or obese would rise to 70 million by 2025.

Research suggests that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to remain overweight or obese as adults.

Findings from our Continuous Update Project - our ongoing programme to analyse global research on how diet, weight and physical activity affect cancer risk - shows strong evidence that being overweight or obese as an adult increases the risk of at least 11 cancers.

Preventing child overweight or obesity is therefore of paramount importance.

Sources: World Health OrganizationCommission on Ending Childhood Obesity