WHO releases guidelines to address overweight and obesity in children

Oct 11, 2017 16:04 IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 4 October 2017 released the guidelines to support the primary healthcare workers in identifying and helping children who are overweight or obese.

In 2016, an estimated 41 million children under 5 were affected by overweight or obesity. Without effective treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, which can further put them at risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and premature death.

The guidelines aim to support the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the global targets set by the Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition.

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Recommendations of WHO
• It recommends that all infants and children aged less than 5 years attaining primary health-care facilities should have both weight and height measured in order to determine their weight-for-height and their nutritional status according to WHO child growth standards.
• Comparing a child's weight with norms for its length or height is an effective way to assess for both wasting and overweight.
• It recommends providing counselling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity including promotion and support for exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding until 24 months or beyond.
• If children are obese, they should be further assessed and an appropriate management plan should be developed.
• Moderate wasting and stunting are potential risk factors for children becoming overweight or obese.
• WHO also recommends not to provide formulated supplementary foods on a routine basis to children who are moderately wasted or stunted.

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