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Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults.It is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults.

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Once considered a high-income country problem, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.In Africa, the number of children who are overweight or obese has nearly doubled from 5.4 million in 1990 to 10.6 million in 2014.Nearly half of the children under 5 who were overweight or obese in 2014 lived in Asia.Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.Globally there are more people who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education.Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood.But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.Children in low- and middle-income countries are more vulnerable to inadequate pre-natal, infant, and young child nutrition.At the same time, these children are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, and micronutrient-poor foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality.These dietary patterns, in conjunction with lower levels of physical activity, result in sharp increases in childhood obesity while undernutrition issues remain unsolved.