Child Obesity Rates on the Rise


Sarah Peddie

Thirty-nine percent of children in New Zealand have been classed as overweight, according to a 2019 Unicef report.

Highlighted in The State of the World's Children 2019 report, New Zealand has the second worst child obesity rate amongst OECD countries.

The percentage of childhood obesity rates went up by 45% from 1990 to 2016 throughout the nation.

The United States of America was top with 42% of children between the age of 5 to 19 years old classified as obese. 

The report also states that children who suffer from obesity are usually from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite there being a growing awareness of the dangers of obesity, there has not been enough response to address the issue. 

However, countries across Europe like France, Hungary, Finland and Belgium along with Chile and Mexico in the Americas, have begun to produce policies to address the issue of obesity. 

They have introduced things like taxes and labels on packaging with warnings that are easy to understand. These policies are recommended and guided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Suggestions have been made in New Zealand by their Unicef Executive Director Vivien Maidaborn on how to tackle the problem of childhood obesity in the country. She has suggested the introduction of sugar tax and incentivising healthy foods.

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