Overweight and obesity are a growing threat to children’s well-being globally, largely driven by a trap of unhealthy and highly processed foods combined with a lack of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Almost 40 million under-fives around the world have overweight, equivalent to nearly 6 per cent of this age group. Among children aged 5 to 19 years rates are significantly higher; it is estimated that more than 340 million have overweight, almost 18 per cent. Growth is most rapid in low- and middle-income countries. These are conditions that disadvantage children and can lead to a lifetime of diseases, including some of the world’s biggest killers such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

UNICEF’s Programme Guidance on the Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents provides strategic guidance to countries on how to adapt the programming and country support work to respond to the changing face of malnutrition, including  a focus on regulatory actions to improving children’s food environments.

UNICEF’s Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents Advocacy Strategy and Guidance is an invaluable tool to help UNICEF offices and partners translate global guidance and recommendations into strong and effective advocacy work on this important issue. It is a new tool that can inform work by UNICEF and others at the country, regional, and global level.

Members of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the first-ever Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition aiming to support countries and others in their efforts to eradicate all forms of hunger and malnutrition by utilizing a comprehensive food systems approach.