Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

What can be done to fight the childhood obesity epidemic?

Overweight and obesity, as well as related noncommunicable diseases, are largely preventable. It is recognized that prevention is the most feasible option for curbing the childhood obesity epidemic since current treatment practices are largely aimed at bringing the problem under control rather than effecting a cure. The goal in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic is to achieve an energy balance which can be maintained throughout the individual's life-span.

General recommendations:

  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts;
  • limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats;
  • limit the intake of sugars; and
  • be physically active - accumulate at least 60 minutes of regular, moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity each day that is developmentally appropriate.

Societal recommendations

Curbing the childhood obesity epidemic requires sustained political commitment and the collaboration of many public and private stakeholders.

Governments, International Partners, Civil Society, NGO's and the Private Sector have vital roles to play in shaping healthy environments and making healthier diet options for children and adolescents affordable, and easily accessible. It is therefore WHO's objective to mobilize these partners and engage them in implementing the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

WHO supports the designation, the implementation, the monitoring and the leadership of actions. A multisectoral approach is essential for sustained progress: it mobilizes the combined energy, resources and expertise of all global stakeholders involved.

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