HEALTHY WEIGHT AMONG CHILDREN

A UNICEF PRIORITY FOR 2021-2025

A girl jumps over a barrier during a PE class at a middle school in Panzhou, Guizhou Province, in November 2020.
UNICEF/CHINA/2020/MA YUYUAN

Highlights

Child overweight and obesity rates have grown rapidly in urban and rural areas of China. The 2015 Global Burden of Disease report estimates that 15 million children aged 2-19 years old are overweight or obese in China. Based on a national report on nutrition and noncommunicable diseases in 2020, the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) is 10 per cent for children under 6, and 19 per cent for children aged 6-17. Without action, the threat of childhood obesity could have severe short-term and long-term consequences, leading to chronic illness, disability and mortality.

A major cause of this problem is an increase in the consumption of foods and beverages that far exceeds a child’s daily requirements of sugar, fat and calories over a prolonged period. Diets have changed rapidly and there is a lack of commensurate regulation of the production, labeling and marketing of unhealthy and ultra-processed foods – especially to children.

A more regulated food environment would make it easier for parents, caregivers and adolescents to make informed, healthy choices about their diet. If this could be
combined with higher nutrition literacy, the risks of unhealthy food choices would decrease further. UNICEF is working with government partners to create an environment that promotes nutritious, affordable and sustainable diets as part of healthy lifestyles for children.

Author
UNICEF China
Publication date
Languages
Chinese, English

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