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41 million under-fives are overweight, says childhood obesity panel

Some 41 million children under the age of five are now obese or overweight worldwide, up from 31 million in 1990, a report by a n independent panel commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found.

The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity warned rates could rise and urged governments, educators, agribusiness and food marketers to do more to help fight the issue.

Biological and behavioural factors contributed to the increase, particularly in parts of the developing world. t he panel's co-chairs told reporters in Geneva.

Among other things, the panel called for "effective taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages" and school policies to foster good diet and physical activities.

Co-chairman Peter Gluckman said: "It's not the kids' fault. You can't blame a two-year-old child for being fat and lazy and eating too much."

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