Childhood Obesity

124 million

children and adolescents with obesity in the world


greater likelihood of obesity in adult life


In Brazil, one in three children have excess weight (overweight or obesity)

Over the past 40 years, childhood obesity worldwide has increased from 1% to 6% in girls, and from 1% to 8% in boys. The vast majority (about 70%) of adolescents with obesity will maintain this condition in adulthood.

In Brazil the rates of excess weight and obesity reflect global standards. The reality of the state of Rio de Janeiro stands out with numbers above the national average in all child and adolescent age groups, according to information from the Food and Nutrition Surveillance System of the Ministry of Health.

The excessive consumption of sugar, saturated, processed, and ultra-processed fats, the advertising of unhealthy foods aimed at children and adolescents, and physical inactivity are some of the factors that currently concern national and international organizations about the increase of obesity.

“If current trends continue, there will be more children and adolescents with obesity than those with moderate and severe malnutrition by 2022” according to Pan American Health Organization .

NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. The Lancet, v.390, p.2627–42, 2017.
Simmonds et al. Obes rev, n.17, v.2, p.95-107, 2015.
Ministério da Saúde. Sistema de Vigilância Alimentar e Nutricional (SISVAN), 2018.

According to the Ministry of Health, obesity is a chronic non-communicable disease characterized by excess body fat that causes harm to the health of the individual. The most common form of diagnosing obesity is by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI), which relates weight to height. For children, it is necessary to compare the BMI obtained with the standard growth curves of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Considering the importance of childhood obesity and its configuration as a public healthcare problem, Instituto Desiderata expands its operations and, in 2019, inserts this issue into its agenda.

The development of this new area is integrated to the work that has been consolidated in the public healthcare field over the past 15 years. This will be done through studies and research, monitoring, mobilization, implementation, and advocacy.

Childhood obesity can trigger sleep disturbances, learning disorders, early maturation, skin problems, psychological problems, and endocrine and respiratory complications. In addition, it is a risk factor for the early development of other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases.

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