Obesity Rates in Europe Spiral Upwards

November 25th, 2011 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

Two reports from Europe show pervasive increases in obesity throughout Europe, even though rates of obesity vary significantly within the continent.

The European Union reports that rates varied between 8% and 23.9% for women and 7.6% and 24.7% for men. (The US rates are 26.8% for women and 27.6% for men.) The lowest rates for men and women were in Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and France. The highest rates for women were in the United Kingdom, Malta, Latvia and Estonia; for men, in Malta, the UK, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Rates of obesity increased with age and fell with higher educational levels. See, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-24112011-BP/EN/3-24112011-BP-EN.PDF

In the second report, the Organization for the Economic Co-operation and  Development (OECD) looked at obesity among its 34 member countries worldwide.

Looking at their latest surveys, they found more than half of the adult population in the OECD report they are overweight or obese. Where height and weight were measured (as opposed to self-report) the rate was even grater, 55.8%. 19 of the 34 OECD countries had more than 50% of adults who were overweight or obese. Even in countries with low rates, e.g. Japan, Korea, France and Switzerland, rates were increasing. Throughout the OECD, 17% of adults were obese. The report notes, “The rise in obesity has affected all population groups, regardless of sex, age, race, income, or education level, but to varying extents.” http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/fulltext/8111101ec018.pdf?expires=1322264846&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=8D94E5CC3B86E6675810DE2CCB25CA83 

Regarding childhood, the OECD notes “Rates of overweight among boys and girls are increasing across the OECD. In many developed countries, child obesity levels doubled between the 1960s and the 1980s, and have doubled since then. Even in emerging countries, the prevalence of obesity is rising, especially in urban areas where there is more sedentary behavior and a greater access to energy-dense food.” OECD iLibrary: Statistics / Health at a Glance / 2011 / Overweight and obesity among children