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Share15 October 2019In Italy, the percentage of overweight children between 5 and 19 is 36.8%, an increase of 39.1% compared to 1990: this is a "worrying" situation. The president of Unicef ??Italia, Francesco Samengo, said about the new report 'The condition of childhood in the 2019 world: children, food and nutrition - Growing healthy in a changing world'. "Malnutrition - he explained - does not only mean not having enough to eat, but also eating in a wrong or unhealthy way. Through this relationship, we also want to highlight the problem of childhood obesity that is taking on the characteristics of a true and proper own epidemic ".
In other countries
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia 1 child out of 7 under 5 is overweight. From 2000 to 2016, the percentage of overweight children between 5 and 19 doubled from 1 in 10 to about 1 in 5. Compared to 1975, the number of children and young people suffering from obesity in this age group it's 10 times more for girls and 12 times for boys.
A proper diet is lacking
According to the new UNICEF i report, an alarming high number of children suffer the consequences of a poor diet and a food system that is damaging them. "Despite all the technological, cultural and social advances of the last decades, we have lost sight of this fundamental fact: if children do not eat properly, they do not live in adequate conditions," said Henrietta Fore, director general of UNICEF. "Millions of children survive on an unhealthy diet because they don't have a better choice. The way we know and respond to malnutrition must change: it is not just about giving enough food to children, but first of all giving the right food. Our common challenge today. "
The scenario on nutrition is threefold
The report provides the most comprehensive 21st century research on child malnutrition in all its forms. Describes a triple scenario: malnutrition, hidden hunger due to lack of basic nutrients and overweight among children under 5 years. The report recalls that poor food and nutrition start in the first days of life. Through breastfeeding it is possible to save lives: for example, only 42% of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, while the number of children receiving breast-milk substitutes increases. Sales of powdered milk products increased by 72% between 2008 and 2013 in middle-high income countries such as Brazil, China and Turkey, mainly due to inappropriate marketing and poor policies and programs to protect, promote support breastfeeding.
What children eat
Around the world, around 45% of children between 6 months and 2 years do not eat fruit or vegetables. About 60% do not eat eggs, dairy products, fish or meat. When children grow up, their exposure to unhealthy foods becomes alarming, mainly due to inappropriate marketing and advertising, the abundance of processed foods in cities but also in remote areas and access to fast food and highly sweetened drinks increasing. For example, the report shows that 42% of teenagers going to school in low and middle income countries consume sodas at least once a day and 46% eat fast food at least once a week. These rates increase to 62% and 49%, respectively, for adolescents in high-income countries. As a result, levels of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence are increasing worldwide. From 2000 to 2016, the percentage of overweight children aged 5 to 19 doubled from 1 in 10 to about 1 in 5.