Fat Chance: Sweden Peaks in Obesity as Half of Population Has Weight Issues

Burger InternationalIndiaAfricaToday, generally, 51% of adult Swedes are either overweight or obese, a phenomenon most prominent among younger adults. Experts views this as a worrying trend, since excessive weight at a young age tends to persist in later life.In recent decades, the share of overweight Swedes has soared dramatically, a new study by the nation’s Public Health Agency has discovered.The prevalence of obesity has been steadily on the rise in the adult population since the 1980s. Today, wholly 51% of adult Swedes are either overweight or obese. Among others, Class 2 obesity (with a BMI of 35 to 40) has doubled in the Swedish population since 2004. The fastest increase has occurred among younger adults, but the incidence is increasing in all social groups, the health body said. It also stressed that being overweight at a young age tends to persists into adulthood, which is a worrying trend.

"This is a serious development. We know that the risk of, say, premature death, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes increases with higher BMI and increased severity of obesity," Public Health Agency investigator Lena Hansson said in a statement.

According to Hansson, such a high increase in obesity baffled researchers. She also emphasized that the figures likely represent an underestimate as they are based on self-reported data.The Public Health Agency pinned this phenomenon on changes in social and physical environment that affect people’s life choices. This concerns, for instance, food supplies and pricing, marketing policies, as well as physical activity, social norms and preferences.Fat Chance: Sweden Peaks in Obesity as Half of Population Has Weight IssuesWorldHalf of Humanity to Be Overweight by 2035, World Obesity Federation Warns3 March, 16:56 GMTOverall, obesity can be linked to a number of different factors, such as genetics, biology, life events, lifestyle habits, stress, sleep problems and mental illness. One of the factors that Lena Hansson believes is at play is that many people today experience stress, while the prevalence of mental problems has increased as well.”Stress affects both physiological, cognitive and chemical processes in the body, which can increase the risk of weight gain. It can interact quite a lot with our behavior and lifestyle around food and physical activity,” Hansson said in a statement.A recent separate study by Umea University concluded that obese Swedish men run a greater risk of premature death than equally obese Americans. According to research by Melissa Scribani of the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, who called the results “surprising,” Swedish men with severe obesity ran almost a five times greater risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases compared to men of normal weight.At the same time, equally overweight Americans were “only” three times as likely to die prematurely. By contrast, for women the risk pattern was somewhat similar in both countries.


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