Laos is among countries that will have the largest increase in obesity between 2017 and 2030, a recent study has revealed.
Laos ranked 8th in the obesity crisis ranking compiled by the World Obesity Federation and Atlas of Childhood Obesity, Guardian reported. The ranking estimates percentage point increase in children aged between five and nine from a total of 191 countries.
South Africa topped the ranking, and it was followed by China and Maldives. From Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranked 5th while Thailand landed 7th.
“Childhood obesity is rising exponentially worldwide as the relentless marketing of junk foods reaches around the globe,” Guardian noted. “Governments do too little to protect their children’s health.”
The number of obese children globally is predicted to reach 250 million by 2030, up from 150 million now, according to Guardian.
The fact that several Southeast Asian nations ranked high on the study mentioned above might not be a coincidence.
Southeast Asia was and is often associated with undernourishment, but that is no longer the case thanks to a half-century of economic development and income growth.
“Although hunger remains an issue in some areas, overall, Asians now have access to more and better food than ever,” wrote Bloomberg.
Asia’s eaters have tended to shift away from traditional starch-based diets and toward food rich in fat, protein, dairy, and sugar, much of it packaged and processed, it added.
Some numbers back this up. Obesity surged 24 percent in Singapore, 27 percent in Malaysia and 38 percent in Vietnam between 2010 and 2014. In addition, Southeast Asia now accounts for about 20 percent of all diabetics globally, according to Bloomberg.
“Promoting healthy [or healthier] eating will require long-term public-education campaigns, ideally combined with school-based nutritional programs,” it suggested.