New York - According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, approximately 14 percent of children in Morocco suffer from obesity.
New York – According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, approximately 14 percent of children in Morocco suffer from obesity.
The WHO conducted a two-year study published on Monday, during which the organization researched over 100 WHO member countries worldwide regarding the dangers of childhood obesity and laid out a set of recommendations for its prevention and treatment.
There has been a significant rise in childhood obesity across the world in the last few years, affecting life expectancy, “reaching alarming proportions” and posing “serious challenges” to control of the condition.
According to the study, Morocco is ranked among the top countries suffering from this phenomenon with 14 percent of Moroccan children suffering from obesity.
Other countries in the MENA region ranked similarly. Algerian and Tunisian children suffering from obesity ranged from 10 to 14.9 percent, while Egyptian children ranked higher, with between 15 and 20 percent of children overweight. The North African country with the highest percentage of obese children was Libya, with over 20 percent of children under five years old overweight.
Obesity in Africa has become a major problem, mostly affecting children of wealthy families living in poorer countries, due to cultural views that hold excess body weight in children as a sign of health.
“In Africa, the number of children under five years old who are overweight or obese has almost doubled between 1990 and 2014, increasing from 5.4 million to 10.3 million,” the WHO report revealed.
According to AFP, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Co-President of the WHO Commission highlighted the alarming results of the study during a press conference on Monday in Geneva.
“Overweight and obesity affect the quality of life of a child,” Dr. Nishtar said, adding that “obesity can also have an impact on student achievement”.
She went on to add that if these children remain obese as they grow up, the problem poses “major economic and health consequences for them, their families and society as a whole.”
The same study noted that 81 percent of adolescents around the world do not exercise enough to get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
According to a 2014 report by the McKinsey Global Institute titled “How the World Could Better Fight Obesity,” obesity is one of the top three social burdens worldwide, costing $2 trillion annually, after smoking and terrorism, which cost $2.1 trillion.
McKinsey noted that if obesity continues to grow at its current rate, half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030.
Obesity in Morocco is an economic and social problem costing nearly MAD 24 billion per year, nearly 3 percent of the country’s GDP, the study revealed.