“There are still more children that are underweight in the world than there are obese, but that’s likely to change pretty soon”
Tiago Barreira, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise, spoke with Jacqueline Howard of CNN Health on the global issue of childhood obesity. The World Health Organization calls childhood obesity “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.” However, the definition of childhood obesity is not standardized, and data is collected and analyzed in different ways globally.
“Global data is a little problematic because the methods to collect data — self-reported or measured — and to analyze data differ. So some of the information that we have is not identical depending on who is reporting…For children — depending on who is reporting — the World Health Organization has a standard, the CDC has another standard, so obesity rates vary.”
Barreira’s work focuses on measuring physical activity and its relationship with body composition and cardiovascular disease risk. Studies around the world have shown that activity levels are stronger predictors for childhood obesity than other factors, such as birth weight.