In an article published on October 11, 2017 by news provider Reuters, journalist Stephanie Nebehay informed about a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) on worldwide trends in body weight. The study was conducted by the Risk Factor Collaboration on non-communicable diseases (NCD-RisC) and published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet on October 10, 2017. According to the WHO report, the number of obese children and adolescents has increased tenfold over the past 40 years: About 8% of boys and 6% of girls worldwide were obese in 2016, in contrast to less than 1% for both boys and girls in 1975. Obesity rates are accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Asia. In rich countries, obesity rates have stabilized, but remain “unacceptably high.” The U.S. had the highest obesity rates (19.5% for girls and 23.3% for boys) among high-income countries. The study further projects that, if current trends persist, there will be more obese than underweight children and teens worldwide by 2022. According to the study’s lead author Majid Ezzati of the Imperial College London, UK, “changing environments, food, behaviors, portions, consumption patterns” contribute to the global obesity epidemic. Also, “highly processed food is more available, more marketed and it’s cheaper,” Ezzati noted.

In a blog post published on October 11, 2017 by the non-profit organization Green Science Policy Institute (GSP), author Robin Blades highlighted environmental toxins as a contributing factor to obesity. Chemicals known as metabolic disruptors (or obesogens) are “mimicking hormones that regulate fat storage,” Blades explained. Examples include phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), flame retardants, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs); all are used or can be found in food contact materials (FCMs) and many other consumer products.

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Stephanie Nebehay (October 11, 2017). “Child and teen obesity soars tenfold worldwide in 40 years: WHO report.Reuters

Robin Blades (October 11, 2017). “The obesity epidemic: What’s to blame?GSP

IFT (October 11, 2017). “Child, teen obesity soars tenfold worldwide in 40 years.

Foodwatch (October 11, 2017). “Kinder weltweit von Fettleibigkeit bedroht.(in German)


NCD-RisC (2017). “Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: A pooled analysis of 2,416 population-based measurement studies in 128.9 million children, adolescents, and adults.The Lancet (published online October 10, 2017).