health check

Child and adolescent obesity has increased ten-fold across the globe, says WHO report

India had more than half of the world’s underweight children in 2016.

There has been a tenfold rise in the number of obese children and adolescents (aged 5-19) worldwide over the past 40 years, a study by the World Health Organization and Imperial College London found. The study found that the rise is accelerating in low and middle-income countries, especially in Asia.

“Over the past four decades, obesity rates in children and adolescents have soared globally, and continue to do so in low- and middle-income countries,” lead author Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial’s School of Public Health said. If current trends continue, in 2022 there will be more obese children and teenagers across the world than underweight ones.

Polynesia and Micronesia had the highest rates of child obesity last year – 25.4% in girls and 22.4% in boys. The “high-income English-speaking region”, which includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain followed. Among high-income countries, the United States had the highest obesity rates for girls and boys – at 19.5% and 23.3%, the report said.

India, meanwhile, has the highest number of underweight children over the last four decades. The study said of the 19.2 crore of world’s moderately or severely underweight children and adolescents, 9.7 crore– or more than half – lived in India in 2016.

How the study was done

The study analysed the weight and height of 13 crore people aged over five (3.15 crore people aged 5 to 19, and 9.74 crore aged 20 and older). This is the largest number of participants ever involved in an epidemiological (deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of diseases) study. More than 1,000 researchers contributed to the study, which looked at body mass index and obesity from 1975 to 2016. BMI is a measure of a person’s weight and body fat mass for their height, and indicates whether their weight is healthy.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.