Trends in childhood obesity and related health policies in Sri Lanka
Obesity among children is a global public health issue and its prevalence is rising worldwide regardless of the economic status of the individual country. The current study describes the factors associated with childhood obesity in Sri Lanka with a view to modifying or developing policies and guidelines to prevent childhood obesity. A cross-sectional study and a qualitative study were conducted among adolescents, their mothers, teachers and health care professionals (HCPs) in the Colombo district, Sri Lanka. Birth weight higher than 3500g, reduced physical activity, high calorie intake and consumption of fast food were associated with obesity among adolescents. According to stakeholders, there is a need to review, revise and reactivate the current policies and develop new strategies to prevent and control obesity among children. A multi–disciplinary approach and advocacy are necessary at the level of policy making to prevent and control childhood obesity in Sri Lanka.
Keywords: Adolescent health, obesity, health policies, Sri Lanka