Childhood obesity affects vulnerable children more, according to a report by the Gasol Foundation, which concludes that 17.5% of Spanish children under 8 to 12 years are obese, a percentage that almost doubles in the case of children at risk of exclusion, reaching 34.1%.
Coinciding with World Obesity Day, the foundation of the brothers Pau and Marc Gasol dedicated to the fight against childhood obesity has presented on Wednesday new data that deepen the evidence on the relationship between the socioeconomic level of families and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Spanish children.
The presentation of the study, which has compared the vulnerable child population participating in its programs with the Spanish average, has been attended by the High Commissioner for the fight against child poverty, Ernesto Gasco; the program manager of the Gasol Foundation, Santi Gómez; and the executive director of the Gasol Foundation, Cristina Ribes.
Gasco has explained that the Government is working on a new taxation that, among others, raises a tax for sugary drinks and foods with many saturated fats, to “hinder such easy access” to those products that “are not advisable for Health”.
The High Commissioner has indicated that this tax would be “a measure of health with a high social component”, since these products “especially harm” people in vulnerable situations due to their low price.
Gasco has claimed a country commitment among all the actors involved – administrations, entities and the private sector – to fight against this problem and has warned: “Obesity among children and young people because of the scarce economic resources of their families has become in an explosive cocktail that conditions the future of our society. “
Specifically, the data presented show that 34.1% of children under 8 to 12 years with low resources participating in the projects of Gasol Foundatoin suffer from obesity, while, according to the representative study PASOS, also prepared by the foundation , obesity affects 17.5% of Spanish children of the same age.
In total, adding overweight and obesity, 54.3% of children in vulnerable situations are overweight, compared to 36.2% of the national average.
Likewise, the comparison shows that only 14.2% of children from families with few resources comply with the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), according to which children should devote a minimum of one hour a day to practice of physical activity, while in the national average the figure rises to 42.3%.
“It is intolerable and unacceptable that this burden exists in children growing up in situations of inequality,” said Gomez, who has warned of the seriousness of the data presented and insisted: “We are not able to measure the social and economic impact of a pandemic as childhood obesity. “
For his part, Ribes has emphasized the importance of scientific studies to guide the intervention of public administrations and entities: “We know, and today we provide even more scientific evidence, that children with fewer resources are the most affected, and most notably, due to the obesity epidemic, which is why, from the Gasol Foundation, we focus our efforts on promoting healthy habits among vulnerable families. “
He has also urged to “get to work urgently” to deal with an issue that WHO, already in 2000, placed as the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century, “a global health problem that we are facing going out of hand, “Ribes warned.