By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4)– A new study is sounding the alarm on childhood obesity. It found the number of obese children and teens is 124 million worldwide, more than 10 times higher than it was 40 years ago.

The study points to poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

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Two-and-a-half-year-old Poppy happily waves her arms. She is in Parent and Toddler Yoga at Mudra Yoga with instructor Casey Feicht.

“We’re moving, we’re jumping around, we’re singing songs,” said Feicht, owner of

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Keeping Poppy active is important to her grandmother, Jan Bartolina.

“She exercises, she runs around, she actually learns yoga,” said Bartolina.

Jan Bartolina (credit: CBS)

Bartolina knows what causes obesity in kids.

“Because we don’t exercise enough, because we eat wrong,” she said.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese children and teens is now more than 10 times higher than it was 40 years ago.

Experts analyzed data from 2,400 different studies that tracked height and weight of 32 million children, 5 to 19 years old. The research shows an estimated 74 million boys and 50 million girls are obese worldwide. The problem is more than physical.

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“Social, psychological problems for the children themselves, more stigmatism, less optimal school performance,” said Leanne Riley with WHO.

And obese kids are often overweight or obese adults.

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“It is also more likely to lead to early onset of conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes,” said Riley.

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The study found some good news and bad news for the U.S. Here, obesity levels have plateaued, but that’s not a reason for complacency because more than one in five young people in the U.S. are obese.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.