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Childhood overweight and obesity

Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, at a younger age. Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority.

The most significant health consequences of childhood overweight and obesity, that often do not become apparent until adulthood, include:

  • cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke);
  • diabetes;
  • musculoskeletal disorders, especially osteoarthritis; and
  • certain types of cancer (endometrial, breast and colon).

To avoid overweight and obesity, its recommended children:

  • eat more fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts;
  • limit their energy intake from fats;
  • limit their 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.

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