The world has seen an enormous rise in the levels of child obesity over the past four decades, Dr. James Bentham, Honorary Research Associate at the Imperial College London and the author of the study told Radio Sputnik.
"It was quite rare in 1975 for a child to be obese, about 1 in 100. And now we are seeing one in 10 girls, one in 12 boys that are obese and that means they might have severe health consequences in their lives," the analyst added.
With McDonalds and other fast food chains enjoying popularity among teenagers, junk food has become a serious problem contributing to the obesity crisis.
According to Bentham, it is important to take measures to stop this tendency, in particular by trying to get children used to good food instead of unhealthy products that are "advertised to them."
"We would suggest that we need to push back, we need to fight against this increase in junk food, potentially with taxes on things like sugar. But at the same time we need to make healthy food more available. So, there are various things that could be done: you could give people vouchers to make healthy food cheaper, you can subsidize farmers to grow this food, [invest] more money in schools to make school meals better," Bentham said.
"Junk food is a problem of course: people consuming more, portion sizes increasing. But it's also about how much activity people are doing: are these children engaging in sports at school? Are they walking from school?," Bentham said.
He also stressed that obesity can have serious health consequences at an early age, including various heart conditions and even cancer. So "it's important to send the message to children" that healthy food and lifestyles are good for them and that they can be enjoyable.