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Sweden's 'obesity epidemic' shows signs of slowing: study

Published: 25 Nov 2009 08:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Nov 2009 08:00 GMT+01:00

After decades of progressive weight gain, Swedes’ waistlines appear to have stopped expanding, a new study shows.

For the first time in 70 years, the number of obese and overweight people in Sweden hasn’t increased, according to statistics presented at the annual meeting of the Swedish Society of Medicine (Svenska Läkaresällskapet) and reviewed by the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“We’ve been able to stop the growing obesity epidemic in Sweden. The possibility of becoming sick and dying because one is overweight has become part of the public consciousness,” professor Gunnar Johansson of the National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet ) told the newspaper.

Sweden’s have become fatter every year since 1980, the year that Statistics Sweden (SCB) began collecting data on Swedes’ weight.

But starting in 2004, the steady weight increase began to level out.

“We aren’t seeing a decrease in weight, but there’s no increase either and that’s a first,” said Johansson.

Despite the encouraging figures, nearly every other Swede – 44 percent of the population – is overweight or obese.

“It’s a large threat to both welfare and the social insurance system,” Johansson told DN, adding that, according to calculations by Sweden’s public health agency, obesity costs the country about 17 billion kronor ($2.5 billion) every year.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:23 November 25, 2009 by Rick Methven
Close down all McDonald's & Burger Kings and watch those waist lines shrink
11:26 November 25, 2009 by peropaco
It is a matter of choice. Suggesting business closure is draconian and counterproductive. I eat Mcdo,Burger king et al and I am far from being a sack of walking lard. Maybe if they cut down and the cream consumption in every meal and exercise we could see an even greater improvement.
11:38 November 25, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
You are so very right, Peropaco.
13:22 November 25, 2009 by calebian22
In the words of Craig Ferguson- "Forget the diets. Eat less, move more. Problem solved."
20:22 November 25, 2009 by Greg in Canada
There is no doubt that junk food is a major contributer to the western world obesity problem and is going to strain the health care systems, but nobody is forced to eat McDonald's. I haven't touched a big mac or any other junk food for over fifteen years. Consequently I'm still the same weight as when in my mid 20's and I'm in my 50's now. I also run, cycle, x-country ski and do triathlons. It's all a matter of lifestyle choices. If you don't exercise, smoke and eat junk food then you're bound to be unhealthy and have a shorter lifespan.
01:56 November 26, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Stop buying all that candy at the video store.
03:03 November 26, 2009 by Davey-jo
Maybe they've reached the point where they can't actually get any fatter. Not without exploding like some Pythonesque fatman all over Sweden ....

Anyways you ain't seen fat till you've been to Hull.
08:35 October 4, 2010 by Jehnavi
The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of overweight and obesity in two rural areas in Sweden and the United States already collected data was used from 1990 to 1999 multinational monitoring trends and determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (MONICA) study in northern Sweden.

http://www.fightobesity.net/
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