Weight issues and obesity are two of the biggest health problems facing Thai children
– a trend that could cause Thailand to miss its target of improving nutrition and achieving food security by 2030, according to a recent survey.
The survey on Thailand’s status regarding the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), carried out by the National Statistics Office and the National Economic and Social Development board, found problems of being overweight and obese among Thai children aged under five increased two-fold to 10.9% between 2015 and 2016.
Thailand’s status on meeting the SDGs was also published in a recently-released progress report that provides an overview of the world’s implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to ensure no one is left behind.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Friday launched the latest findings of the 2017 Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition during the Asia-Pacific Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition.
According to its findings, globally, the percentage of children aged under five who are overweight increased to 6% in 2014. If current trends continue, the SDG objectivewill be largely missed by 2030.
Being overweight is a growing problem affecting nearly every region, it said.
“Globally, 41 million children in this age group are overweight; almost half of them live in Asia. In Southeast Asia, the prevalence of overweight children under five years increased from 3.2% in 2000 to 7.4% in 2014,” the report said.
The Department of Public Health of Thailand also reported that one of every five pre-school children have an obesity problem and that weight problems and obesity should be considered a national agenda item.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, as the FAO’s Special Goodwill Ambassador for Zero Hunger in the region, on Friday called upon 250 participants including parliamentarians, policy-makers, academics, researchers, students, civil society members, representatives from the private sector and development partners from countries across the region to work together to find solutions.
She said better efforts were needed to enable better production, processing and distribution of food, as well as more effective ways to promote better nutrition and healthier diets throughout food systems.