The number of obese children across the continent has doubled from 5.4 million in 1990 to 10.3 million in Africa today, the WHO's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity found.
And while soft drinks are a focal point of the report, the commission said that African countries' rapid economic and social change were two primary, environmental culprits driving the trend. As the continent's once-rural populations continue to coalesce around urban areas, African children are exercising less, taking public transportation instead of walking, playing indoors instead of outdoors, and have access to a greater number of unhealthy food choices.
"There's been a great change with people moving from the countryside to the city," Juana Willumsen, a member of the team working with the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity told Radio France International. "This results in a change in traditional diets. People have also become more sedentary. They start taking public transportation and cars instead of walking."