Childhood obesity rates are on the rise, and more than 30,000 Australian children aged between seven and fifteen are living with severe obesity, says a new study.
The proportion of obese children living with severe obesity had risen from one in five in 1995 to nearly one in three in 2012.
‘Childhood obesity is one of the world's leading health crises. Obese children are more likely to continue to be obese in adulthood, bringing with it major health risks.’
Associate Professor Sarah Garnett from the Westmead Children's Hospital Institute of Endocrinology said, "The problem was bigger than previously thought."
"The numbers on how many Australian children have severe obesity have never been crunched until now, and our findings suggest we have underestimated the issue," she said.
"In contrast to overweight and obese children, children with severe obesity require specialist care; failure to treat these children will have huge implications for the individual and our health care system in the years to come."
Severely obese children have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or over.
Professor Garnett said, "There are not enough pediatric obesity services for affected kids. Better strategies for prevention of obesity are required, but we also need improved training and facilities for obesity management."