“Our findings are concerning as parents do not recognize common weight deviations in children,” said study author Dr. Staffan Marild, a researcher in the department of pediatrics at the University of Gothenburg, in a release. “Repeated growth monitoring of children in healthcare and identifying weight deviations will raise parents' awareness, and give them a possibility to act against threats to their children's health.”
The study was presented Monday at the 12th annual International Congress on Obesity being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Around the world, an estimated 43 million preschool children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2010, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Once considered a condition limited to wealthier nations, childhood obesity is now more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries; an estimated 35 million obese and overweight children under 5 live in developing countries. At the current pace, the number of preschool children who will be overweight or obese by 2020 will reach 60 million, according to the Harvard school.
Efforts to reduce childhood obesity rates have had little to no success despite an increase in awareness about the problem in higher income countries. In the U.S., a recent study that was highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as showing a 43% decline in the obesity rate among kids between the ages of 2 and 5 showed overall rates among adults and children have not changed between 2003 and 2011.
Scheduled to continue until Thursday, the congress will feature research work covering a wide range of issues from dietary supplements and weight loss aids to community-based obesity reduction models and the latest findings in genetic research.
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