Obesity among children in Asia

Which areas in Asia have the highest childhood obesity rate?

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Map of the childhood obesity rate in Asia.

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We’ve already seen which Asian countries have the highest obesity rates among adults. But how is the situation among Asian children?

The obesity rate among children will give us a bit more insights in the obesity rates among adults in the future. Some Asian countries might have relatively low obesity rates now, but it could be that they’re on track to become much more obese in the future.

Just like obesity among adults, Asia is home to the countries with some of the highest and lowest childhood obesity rates in the world. Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are in the global top 20. At the same time, Nepal and India are in the global bottom 20.

The most obese countries in Asia are Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. These countries have a high childhood obesity rate as well, especially Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Just like with the adult obesity rate, the Middle East also has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world. Iran is the only country in that region with a significantly lower childhood obesity rate. Let’s hope this also leads to lower future adult obesity rates.

The least obese countries in Asia are Vietnam, Bangladesh and Timor-Leste. They also have some of the lowest childhood obesity rates.

For most of Asia outside of the Middle East, childhood obesity rates don’t indicate any worrying trends for the future. With the exception of two countries: China and Thailand. Both countries have a fairly low obesity rate. However, their childhood obesity rates are much higher than other Asian countries with a similar adult obesity rates. Not just that, their childhood obesity rate, is even higher than the adult obesity rate. For China, the childhood obesity rate is 11.7% compared to a 6.2% adult obesity rate. For Thailand the childhood obesity rate is 11.3% compared to a 10.0% adult obesity rate.

Data for this map comes from the WHO.

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