Open Access Article

Title: Childhood obesity, food insecurity and climate change: a tale of two island groups

Authors: Paul Calleja; Sara Darias-Curvo; Claire Copperstone; Daniel Cauchi

Addresses: Institute of Community Services, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, Paola, Malta ' Research Center of Social Inequality and Governance – CEDESOG, Nursing Department, University of La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain ' Departments of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Msida, Malta ' Ministry for Health, Department for Health Regulation, Valletta, Malta

Abstract: The Canary Islands and Malta are two island groups currently experiencing high childhood overweight and obesity rates, with prevalence reported at over 40% for Malta and 44.2% for the Canary Islands [using World Health Organisation (WHO) cut-off criteria]. This study compares the childhood obesity situation in both islands, taking into consideration their specific vulnerabilities, the main initiatives to address obesity in both countries, and reports on progress achieved. Children's dietary and physical activity behaviours in both islands continue to be problematic, but other concerns such as the reliance on food imports and potential climate change impacts remain. Some strategies and initiatives are in place, but there are few progress indicators documented. Public health proposals should investigate the broader causes of obesity, and the potential link between childhood obesity and the specific vulnerabilities of small islands, to find more targeted solutions.

Keywords: childhood obesity; Canary Islands; Malta; vulnerabilities; climate change; food insecurity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2023.130840

International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2023 Vol.6 No.3, pp.167 - 184

Received: 29 Jul 2021
Accepted: 13 Apr 2022

Published online: 12 May 2023 *