According to a World Health Organization report, in many European countries, one in three adolescents is overweight
The results of the report were presented during the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal. The issue is considered to be a “critical public-health concern”, as the highest rates prevail in southern European and Mediterranean countries, from the 40 states that were included in the study.
Greece, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia and Portugal have been found to have the highest teen-obesity rates among both sexes, with increases between 5 and 14 per cent since the last measurements in 2002. Overall, 16 countries have registered an overweight positive increase rate among adolescents. Young boys living in lower-income families have been observed to be at greater risk than other teen categories.
On the other hand, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ukraine have reported the lowest prevalence of the condition, with these countries implementing strict healthy eating policies in public schools.
According to Dr. Nathalie Farpour-Lambert from the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, the latest report on the matter is “an important reminder for policymakers that the battle is not yet finished,” as “in the majority of countries, the public-health measures are having no effect, so we need more regulation.”
Obesity is an extremely delicate subject, due to the consequences overweight might have on the overall health of both children and adults: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and psychological problems, social isolation and anxiety.
“Sedentary behavior, which has the potential not only to displace time available for physically active pursuits but is also independently associated with a range of negative health outcomes” is considered to be the main cause for this situation, along with a “massive rise in computer and device use” and lack of sugary food regulations.
Authorities are expected to apply obesity preventive measures, such as easier access to regular physical activities, food-related directives, sugar taxes and lower water prices.