The motto for this year’s World Children’s Day on 20 September is “Together for Children’s Rights”. With this appeal, UNICEF Germany and the German Children’s Fund call for children’s rights to be implemented more consistently. The German Liver Foundation takes World Children’s Day and the results of a current study as an opportunity to point out children’s right to health.
One in three children in the age group ten to twelve has gained weight during the corona pandemic. The German Liver Foundation warns against possible secondary diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and calls for countermeasures.
Even before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, 15% of children and young people in Germany were overweight – 6% were even obese, i.e. severely obese. The results of a representative parent survey conducted by the German Obesity Association (DAG) and the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center (EKFZ) for Nutritional Medicine, presented in May 2022, show that the corona pandemic in Germany has had a massive impact on children’s health: right from the start Because of the corona pandemic, one in six children has become fatter, about half move less than before the pandemic and about 25% of children eat more sweets. The survey results also show that there are serious differences between the different social classes, and that the pandemic has further exacerbated inequalities in health: compared to children and young people from high-income families, there are twice as many children and young people from low-income families. -income families, affected by weight gain.
“The liver’s number one enemy is ‘metabolic syndrome,’ which includes obesity and high blood sugar. This can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, known as NAFLD. About one-third of the adult population is said to suffer from fatty liver. The 55 to 75-year-olds are affected more often than average, but doctors are also increasingly finding fatty liver disease in children and young people,” explains Professor Dr. Michael P. Manns, Chairman of the Board of the German Liver Foundation, and he adds: “NAFLD is now the most common liver disease in Germany and will cause a large proportion of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma by 2030.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) also shows in its Obesity 2022 progress report for the European region, published in mid-2022, that the number of people with overweight and obesity has now reached epidemic proportions in all parts of the region and continues to rise: 59 % of adults are currently overweight and almost a third of all children are obese. WHO assumes that significant efforts will be needed to encourage adults and children to adopt healthier lifestyles and be more physically active.
“In order for the consequences of the pandemic not to become a problem for the health of an entire generation, we need timely, appropriate therapy and educational services that reach equally to all groups. It would be nice if nutrition and health literacy were included in the curriculum. A tax on sugary drinks could also be introduced. Advertising restrictions for unhealthy foods would also make sense,” explains Prof. Manns. “In the case of obese children and young people, the doctor treating them should also clarify fatty liver disease. A simple ultrasound examination can already make liver changes visible. In addition, elevated liver values (GPT, GOT and GGT) also indicate liver disease. Timely diagnosis and treatment as well as a change in diet and exercise can help the fat deposits in the liver to recede.”
(Rolf Kalus, external press office, German Liver Foundation)
Source: idw-online.de, German Liver Foundation