In Summary
  • Obesity ballooned in every region in the world, while the number of underweight children slowly decreased everywhere except south and southeast Asia, and central, east and west Africa.
  • The prevalence of underweight children decreased from 9.2 percent to 8.4 percent of girls aged 5-19 over the study period, and from 14.8 percent to 12.4 percent in boys.
  • Obesity grew from 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent among girls and from 0.9 percent to 7.8 percent in boys.

The world had 10 times as many obese children and teenagers last year than in 1975, but underweight kids still outnumbered them, a study said Wednesday.

Warning of a "double burden" of malnutrition, researchers said the rate of increase in obesity far outstripped the decline in under-nutrition.

"If post-2000 trends continue, child and adolescent obesity is expected to surpass moderate and severe underweight by 2022," researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal.

The team found that there were 74 million obese boys aged 5-19 in 2016, up from six million four decades earlier.

For girls, the tally swelled from five million to 50 million.

By comparison, there were 117 million underweight boys and 75 million underweight girls last year after the number peaked around the year 2000, the study said.

Almost two thirds of the underweight children lived in south Asia.

Obesity ballooned in every region in the world, while the number of underweight children slowly decreased everywhere except south and southeast Asia, and central, east and west Africa.

The prevalence of underweight children decreased from 9.2 percent to 8.4 percent of girls aged 5-19 over the study period, and from 14.8 percent to 12.4 percent in boys.

Obesity grew from 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent among girls and from 0.9 percent to 7.8 percent in boys.

In Nauru, the Cook Islands and Palau, more than 30 percent of children and teenagers were obese in 2016.

In some countries in Polynesia and Micronesia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and the United States, more than one in five children were obese.

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