Boys are obese more often than girls

The WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, supported by the Russian Ministry of Health, today presented the report "Adolescent obesity and related behavior: trends and social inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002-2014". It follows that most children who are overweight or obese live in developing countries, where their number is growing faster than in developed countries and regions. However, in Europe the number of children and adolescents with excessive body weight is also growing: obesity is observed for almost every third boy and every fifth girl between the ages of six and nine. As a rule, this indicator is higher in the countries of Southern Europe. In Russia, too, the prevalence of obesity among adolescents is steadily increasing. If in 2002 obesity was diagnosed only in 0.5% of 11-year-old girls, then in 2014 - already at 3.5%. Among boys of the same age, the prevalence of obesity increased from 3.2% to 7.1%. The number of obese 15-year-olds is also growing, but the incidence among them is less: 1.2% for girls and 3% for boys.

The main factor in the development of obesity in children is recognized eating behavior, including the use of sweet and carbonated beverages. The least sweet are children in the Nordic countries - Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, most of all - in Armenia, Bulgaria and Belgium. Russia is in the middle of the rating.

- If you compare the consumption of sweet children in Russia and in Finland, it turns out that our boys eat 24%, and girls - 34% more sweets than their Finnish peers. However, compared with Belgium, our boys by 11% and girls - 7% less sweets, - noted at the presentation of the report leading researcher of HBSC in Russia Anna Matochkina.

At the same time, very few people consume fruits and vegetables, which is the basis of a healthy diet. The relationship between their consumption and good health has long been proven, but in 2014 only about a third (38%) of adolescents aged 11, 13 and 15 from 40 countries and regions of Europe consumed fruit daily, and 3% Do not eat. In all 40 countries and regions, 36% of teenagers aged 11, 13 and 15 reported that they consume vegetables daily, while 5% said they did not eat them at all. WHO reporters recall their recommendations to WHO: adolescents need to consume five portions (400 g) of fruits and vegetables a day.

Among the main reasons for the increase in the number of children with excess weight and obesity, and the researchers call not only changes in eating behavior, but also an increasingly pronounced sedentary lifestyle. Only 25% of boys and 15% of girls spend at least one hour a day in active traffic. In Russia, indicators of physical activity compared with European countries are particularly low, noted Anna Matochkina. Physical activity decreases in adolescents with age, with the least moving 15-year-olds. Parallel to this, the time spent by children before computers increases, which also affects the prevalence of obesity. Over 80% of 15-year-old boys and over 70% of girls of the same age in many countries, including Russia, spent more than two hours in computers in 2014.

Researchers note that in many countries correctly eating teenagers are less in families with low incomes, and in families with high incomes, the consumption figures of sweets and sugar-containing carbonated drinks are declining.

WHO calls the problem of childhood obesity - one of the most serious problems for health systems in the European Region. It worsens the quality of life of adolescents and causes various emotional and behavioral problems, and from childhood is smoothly transferred to adolescence and persists in later years. As noted in the WHO report, in the future, problems with body weight will arise in about four out of every five obese adolescents. In essence, throughout life they will be accompanied by an increased risk of poor health, social exclusion and discrimination: the chronic nature of obesity is enshrined in the cycle of poverty and ill health that passes from generation to generation.

Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) is a joint WHO inter-national study that monitors behavioral health, health status and the social environment of boys and girls aged 11, 13 and 15 at four-year intervals. For more than 25 years, HBSC has been collecting international data on the health status of adolescents, including their eating behavior, physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, and more recently also about overweight and obesity, which makes it possible to compare indicators in Different countries and in the time perspective.

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