WMA proposes a comprehensive program to prevent childhood obesity The World Medical Association (WMA) has published a comprehensive program to prevent childhood obesity including consideration of a tax on non-nutritious foods and sugary drinks. WMA has also called on governments to regulate availability of food and beverages of poor nutritional value, particularly in the vicinity of schools by way of regulating price, advertising and labeling of unhealthy foods to combat obesity. According to the WMA, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diets, and lack of exercise are contributing to childhood obesity. In view of this, the WMA Assembly adopted a new statement on ‘Obesity in Children’ at its recent annual Assembly in Taiwan which recommends that schools should incorporate daily physical activity into their daily routine and all children should be encouraged to participate regardless of their economic status. The National Medical Associations should work to raise public awareness about childhood obesity. Physicians should educate parents and children in how to live healthy lives and emphasize the importance of doing so. It’s not only parents and children who need to be educated about childhood obesity, the WMA statement also recognizes that physicians and health professionals should be educated in nutrition assessment, obesity prevention and treatment by strengthening CME activities focused on nutritional medicine. WMA President Dr. Ketan Desai, said: ‘We know there is a link between the extent of advertising and childhood obesity, and so we are recommending that the advertising of non-nutritious products on television be restricted during programmes that appeal to children. Children frequently watch programmes designed for adults, so regulators must ensure that legislation and regulation also limits marketing associated with such programs. ‘We are also urging governments to consider imposing a tax on non-nutritious foods and sugary drinks and to use the additional revenue to fund research into preventing childhood obesity and reducing the resulting disease risk.' IMA Viewpoint • The incidence of metabolic syndrome is rising in urban school children. • This high incidence of metabolic syndrome is contributing to childhood obesity. • Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates – white rice, white sugar, white maida – several times in a day is fuelling the increase in metabolic syndrome. If not checked in time, this will lead to an epidemic of diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks precipitated by obesity. • Avoid replacing saturated fats with refined carbohydrates. • Avoid eating highly refined and processed grains and carbohydrates. • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. • Stay active.