Obesity is estimated to contribute more than 2.5 million deaths worldwide every year, making it a major global public health problem. Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases, and is linked to reduced life expectancy.

A study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research provides insights into the worldwide epidemiology of obesity, its determinants and the role of various preventive and treatment modalities used for the primordial, primary and secondary prevention of overweight and obesity.

Individual and community-based weight control strategies need to be reinforced to reverse alarming trends in the magnitude of overweight and obese children and adults. These approaches include limiting the intake of processed sugars and sodium in prepared foods and manufactured products, portion sizes and time spent watching television and using computers, as well as encouraging eating breakfast on a regular basis. Community level interventions include the creation and maintenance of nearby parks, child-friendly bike and walking paths, and physician encouragement of the importance of healthy diets and regular physical activity to children and parents alike.

1. Raj M, Kumar RK. Obesity in children & adolescents. Indian Journal of Medical Research 2010; 132: 598-607. (open access)