Child and teenage obesity levels have risen ten-fold in the last four decades, meaning 124 million boys and girls around the globe are too fat, according to new research.
The analysis, published by a medical journal, The Lancet, is the largest of its kind and looks at obesity trends in over 200 countries.
In the UK, one in every 10 young people aged five to 19, is obese.
The largest increase in the number of obese children and adolescents has been in East Asia. China and India have seen rates “balloon” in recent years.
Polynesia and Micronesia have the highest rate of all – around half of the young population in these countries is overweight or obese.
The researchers say that if current world trends continue, ‘obese’ will soon be more common than ‘underweight’.
Obesity researcher from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Harry Rutter, said: “This is a huge problem that will get worse.
“Even skinny people are heavier than they would have been ten years ago.
“We have not become more weak-willed, lazy or greedy. The reality is the world around us is changing.”
Dr Fiona Bull of the World Health Organization (WHO) called for tough action to crack down on “calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food” and promote more physical activity.Please subscribe to our newsletter