Children and Youth with Obesity—a growing global epidemic

Cochrane Child Health

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the last 30 years.1 In 2012, more than a third of children and adolescents in the US were overweight or obese.1 Obesity is not limited to developed countries or older children, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that in 2013, 42 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight and close to 31 million of these children were living in developing countries.2 The global nature and steady increase has led the WHO to declare childhood obesity as “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”2

Obesity can have wide ranging effects both in the short-term and long-term. In the short term, it can affect social, psychological and physical health. For example, children and adolescents with obesity are more…

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