Childhood obesity increasing trends can be reversed

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ISA statement in support of World Obesity Day 2016 “Ending childhood obesity”

Celebrated for the second time since its official launch by the World Obesity Federation last year, World Obesity Day aims to stimulate and support practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reverse the global obesity crisis. With the prevalence of infant, childhood and adolescent obesity rising around the world, the theme of this year’s World Obesity Day is ‘Ending Childhood Obesity – act today for a healthier future’.

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) supports the World Obesity Federation on the occasion of World Obesity Day this year to raise awareness around the need to act now in order to halt childhood obesity rise.

Childhood obesity rates continue to rise worldwide despite the plateau observed in some countries

Obesity is likely to negatively impact on a child’s immediate and long-term health and quality of life. While levels are plateauing in some countries and regions, the absolute numbers for childhood obesity continue to rise, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Over 223 million schoolchildren worldwide are overweight or obese and this number is expected to rise to 268 million by 2025, unless we act now.

Childhood obesity: act today for a healthier future!

In addressing childhood obesity, a number of recommended actions have been suggested by organisations like World Health Organization (WHO)1 . Promoting healthy diets and physical activity in children is certainly two of the most important strategies in halting the childhood obesity increasing trends.1 Moreover, the role of governments, local and health services has been highlighted by the World Obesity Federation in a briefing paper with calls to action.2

Furthermore, the role of the family in managing childhood obesity has also been recognised by many organisations as being very crucial. By involving the entire family and focusing on gradual changes in physical activity and eating habits, every single member of the family is taught healthful habits. Childhood obesity can be prevented or reversed! It just requires small but fundamental steps in everyday life such as eating smarter and healthier, taking regular exercise, engaging in less sedentary activities and even sleeping better.

Small changes and smart swaps can help in childhood obesity management

To achieve a healthy body weight all people should pay attention to the food and beverage choices in their everyday diet and control the calorie intake in combination with increasing their physical activity. Making small changes, better choices and smart swaps such as replacing sugar with low calorie sweeteners in foods and drinks can help people manage their weight more efficiently by limiting their energy intake.3

For example, by replacing sugar-sweetened foods and beverages with those sweetened with low calorie sweeteners, people can reduce their daily calorie intake and better manage their weight without feeling deprived of sweet taste.4 Actually, in a number of studies, the use of low calorie sweeteners has been associated with a lower overall energy intake and reduced consumption of sweet tasting foods and drinks. This suggests that low calorie sweeteners may help to satiate the desire for sweetness, both in adults and children, and do not indeed encourage craving for sweetness.5

Being a firm believer of the power of awareness raising in the prevention of important health issues, the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is proud to support the World Obesity Federation in this great effort against childhood obesity and commits to stay a close partner to similar initiatives.

If you want to find out more about the role of low calorie sweeteners in obesity, weight control and management, but also on their use in pregnancy and childhood you can download our updated factsheets on these subjects here.

You may also find interesting to watch here below the newly released video interview with Dr John Sievenpiper talking about obesity and its causes, as well as the role of low calorie sweeteners in obesity prevention and management.