Childhood Obesity as a Global Problem: A Cross-sectional Survey on Global Awareness and National Program Implementation

Type Article

Journal Article


Pulungan AB, Puteri HA, Ratnasari AF, Hoey H, Utari A, Darendeliler F, Al-Zoubi B, Joel D, Valiulis A, Cabana J, Hasanoglu E, Thacker N, Farmer M.

Year of publication



J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol





Introduction: The rising epidemic of childhood obesity worldwide is a major public health challenge. Despite its urgency, there is a lack of data on the awareness and implementation of preventative measures. This study aims to identify areas for improvement in the prevention and management of childhood obesity worldwide. Methods: A cross-sectional electronic survey was distributed to 132 national pediatric societies members of the International Pediatric Association. Results: Twenty-eight participants from different countries across six WHO regions completed the survey. Most participants reported that national prevalence data of childhood obesity is available (78.6%), and the number increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (60.7%). In most countries (78.6%), the amount of sugar and salt is provided in children's products, but only 42.9% enacted regulations on children-targeted advertising. Childhood obesity prevention programs from the government (64.3%) and schools (53.6%) are available with existing support from private or non-profit organizations (71.4%). Participants were aware of WHO's guidance concerning childhood obesity (78.6%), while fewer were aware of UNICEF's guidance (50%). Participants reported that WHO/UNICEF guidance acted as a reference to develop policies, regulations and national programs. However, progress is hindered by poor compliance. Lastly, participants provided suggestions on tackling obesity with responses ranging from developing and reinforcing policies, involvement of schools, and prevention across all life stages. Conclusion: There are different practices in implementing prevention measures against childhood obesity globally, particularly in statutory regulation on food advertising and national programs. While support and awareness is relatively high, its implementation is hindered. This reflects the need for prompt country-specific evaluation and interventions.