1Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition, Riobamba, Ecuador, 2School of Computer Science and Informatics, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 3Centre for Global Health and Human Development, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough, United Kingdom, 4Carrera de Nutrición y Dietética. Facultad de Salud Pública. ESPOCH, Riobamba, Ecuador, 5Carrera de Medicina. Facultad de Salud Pública. ESPOCH, Riobamba, Ecuador, 6Department of Community Medicine and Global Health, Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Oslo, Noruega.
Background: Child overweight and obesity is associated with an increased risk of non-communicable diseases. In the case of children, the monitoring of this disease is important for establishing policies for global public health. Objective: The present work aims to explain the global trends of overweight in children under 5 years during the last two decades in comparison to the global nutrition targets established by the state members of the world health organization (WHO) for 2025 year. Methods: We analyzed secondary data from the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2020 report for the years 2000 to 2020 from 194 countries, distributed in 23 sub-regions to examine the changes in prevalence and trends of overweight and obesity in children under five years. We also analyzed the number of countries with applied national policies on overweight and obesity and their progress, until the year 2020, against the global nutrition targets. Results: The analysis from 194 countries showed that children under five years constituted 8% of the world population. In the last 20 years, the global prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has risen from 5.4% to 5.7% from 2000 to 2022. North and South Africa, West, and East Asia, North and South America, Eastern and Northern Europe, Polynesia, Micronesia, Australia, and New Zealand are the subregions with the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity. Furthermore, regions with the highest number of children affected include Asia with more than 18 million (48%), and Africa with more than 10 million (27%). More than half of the countries for which data were available had not reached the global nutrition target for childhood overweight by 2020. Conclusion: The prevalence of childhood overweight in most of regions of the world has been steadily increasing during the last two decades. Our findings indicate that if public health measures are not implemented, 2025 WHO´s global nutrition targets and 2020 Sustainable Development Goals will not be reached.
Keywords: global nutrition report, childhood, overweight, obesity.