At least 41 million children across the globe who are under the age of 5 are obese or overweight, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an increase of 10 million over the past quarter century.
The public health arm of the United Nations released the latest figures on Monday in a report meant to help governments reverse the rising trend of obesity in children. The number of overweight or obese children in developing countries has more than doubled from 7.5 million to 15.5 million since 1990, the WHO said. Nearly half of all obese children lived in Asia in 2014, according to the organization.
“Overweight and obesity impact on a child’s quality of life, as they face a wide range of barriers, including physical, psychological and health consequences,” Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity co-chair Sania Nishtar said in a statement. “We know that obesity can impact on educational attainment too and this, combined with the likelihood that they will remain obese into adulthood, poses major health and economic consequences for them, their families and society as a whole.”