Over half of adults living in the
European Union countries are now overweight or obese according to a report.
The rate of obesity has more than
doubled over the past 20 years in most EU member states, international experts
The UK comes out worst, shortly
followed by Ireland and Malta, where a quarter of the population is obese.
World experts meet this week to
discuss how to reverse the “worrying trend”.
The European Commission and the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who compiled the
Health at a Glance Europe 2010 report believe the key to success is encouraging
children to adopt healthy habits.
Currently, one in seven children in
the EU are overweight or obese – and the figures are set to rise even further.
Only one in five children in the EU
Physical activity tends to fall between the
ages of 11 and 15 in most EU Member States.
Children who are obese or
overweight are more likely to suffer from poor health later in life, with a
greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer, arthritis,
asthma, a reduced quality of life and even premature death.
European Commissioner for Health
and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, said: “In order to reverse the growing trend
in obesity and other health problems in the EU we need reliable and up-to-date
data to underpin the action we take as policymakers.
“This is where the Health at a
Glance report makes such an important contribution and shall be a useful tool
in the coming months and years.”
FIVE “WORST” COUNTRIES
UK – 24.5 per cent of adults are
Ireland – 23 per cent
Malta – 22.3 per cent
Iceland – 20.1 per cent
Luxembourg – 20 per cent
FIVE “BEST” COUNTRIES
Romania – 7.9 per cent
Switzerland – 8.1 per cent
Italy – 9.9 per cent
Norway – 10 per cent
Sweden – 10.2 per cent