For more inspiration on kids & obesity, watch Jamie Oliver's TED Talk on the topic.
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century according to the WHO. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 41 million. Almost half of all overweight children under 5 lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority.
One of the key issues in childhood obesity is that parents don’t recognize that their child is overweight. Obesity is a social issue that is mainly a lifestyle problem and is closely related to the welfare society and on the rise in developing countries. Obesity is a larger problem in families with a lower social economic status and is contagious in the sense that in an environment with high numbers of people that are overweight, obesity becomes the norm.
Business stakeholders consider obesity as a social issue, consumers don’t
The foodsector is increasingly receiving criticism on the current assortment. Thing is that knowledge of "healthy" products at consumer level is still low and that the intake of ‘light’ products often generate to higher consumption. Sometimes even surpassing the total amount of calorie-intake a.k.a. the Snackwell effect. What doesn't help is the fact health products are being promoted with different labels. Consumers are often hesitant to buy these kind of products because they associate the labels with higher prices. The ‘normal’ products are known and therefore in the comfort-zone of the consumer, while the labels try to provide healthier alternatives. Besides that, children often see ‘healthy’ as ‘not tasty’.
Coalitions on healthy and active consumer behavior
Increasingly companies and NGO’s are collaborating to stimulate active lifestyles for children. The ‘JOGG’ initiative for instance is a Dutch partnership between companies such as Unilever, Albert Heijn, Nutricia, FrieslandCampina, and Zilveren Kruis Achmea and municipalities of cities such as Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam within communities in general and schools specifically. There are several other initiatives focusing to educate and stimulate parents and children to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle in order to combat obesity.
Get in touch
Josée van der Hoek graduated at the Erasmus University Rotterdam on the subject of Obesity from the perspective of Strategic Issue Management. For more information please contact Josée at +31 6 28 02 18 80 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.