Childhood Obesity and Its Comorbidities in High-Risk Minority Populations: Prevalence, Prevention and Lifestyle Intervention Guidelines

Alkhatib, Ahmad and Obita, George (2024) Childhood Obesity and Its Comorbidities in High-Risk Minority Populations: Prevalence, Prevention and Lifestyle Intervention Guidelines. Nutrients, 16 (11). p. 1730. ISSN 2072-6643

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The prevalence of childhood obesity and its associated comorbidities is a growing global health problem that disproportionately affects populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and minority ethnicities in high-income countries (HICs). The increased childhood obesity disparities among populations reflect two concerns: one is HICs’ ineffective intervention approaches in terms of lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity in minority populations, and the second is the virtually non-existent lifestyle obesity interventions in LMICs. This article provides guidelines on childhood obesity and its comorbidities in high-risk minority populations based on understanding the prevalence and effectiveness of preventative lifestyle interventions. First, we highlight how inadequate obesity screening by body mass index (BMI) can be resolved by using objective adiposity fat percentage measurements alongside anthropometric and physiological components, including lean tissue and bone density. National healthcare childhood obesity prevention initiatives should embed obesity cut-off points for minority ethnicities, especially Asian and South Asian ethnicities within UK and USA populations, whose obesity-related metabolic risks are often underestimated. Secondly, lifestyle interventions are underutilised in children and adolescents with obesity and its comorbidities, especially in minority ethnicity population groups. The overwhelming evidence on lifestyle interventions involving children with obesity comorbidities from ethnic minority populations shows that personalised physical activity and nutrition interventions are successful in reversing obesity and its secondary cardiometabolic disease risks, including those related to cardiorespiratory capacity, blood pressure and glucose/insulin levels. Interventions combining cultural contextualisation and better engagement with families are the most effective in high-risk paediatric minority populations but are non-uniform amongst different minority communities. A sustained preventative health impact can be achieved through the involvement of the community, with stakeholders comprising healthcare professionals, nutritionists, exercise science specialists and policy makers. Our guidelines for obesity assessment and primary and secondary prevention of childhood obesity and associated comorbidities in minority populations are fundamental to reducing global and local health disparities and improving quality of life.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
30 May 2024Accepted
31 May 2024Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: obesity guidelines, children and adolescents, non-communicable disease, lifestyle intervention, minority populations
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-06 - allied health > CAH02-06-04 - environmental and public health
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > College of Health and Care Professions
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2024 13:40
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024 13:40

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