Article Thumbnail

Teenage Boys Are Much, Much Fatter Than They Were 40 Years Ago

You’ve really gone and done it now, junk food: The number of obese children and teens (ages 5 to 19) rose to 124 million globally in 2016 — that’s more than 10 times higher than the 11 million kids and adolescents classified as obese 40 years ago, according to a study published on Tuesday.

As with many health ailments, boys were hit the hardest: The prevalence of obesity among boys increased globally from 0.9 percent in 1975 to a whopping 7.8 percent in 2016. On the flip side, girls experienced an increase from just 0.7 percent in 1975 to 5.6 percent in 2016.

The study claims this spike in childhood and adolescent obesity is largely due to quick economic growth in low-income countries, which can lead to people being surrounded by cheap, unhealthy food options (like McDonald’s). In other words, these countries go from not having enough food to experiencing a massive influx of nutrient-poor, energy-dense foods in a very short period of time — and that leads to obesity. That’s probably why obesity rates among children and adolescents recently plateaued in Europe and North America, but soared in developing nations, particularly in East and South Asia.

You’re welcome, rest of the world.