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Health fears for Swedish youth

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08:25 CET+01:00
While the adults in Sweden are generally becoming healthier, the health of children and young people is declining. Child obesity is increasing and more youngsters are being treated for alcohol poisoning.

That is one of the findings of the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare, which is presenting its report on public health to the government on Tuesday.

As far as adults are concerned, the report highlights a series of positive developments.

Life expectancy is increasing dramatically. Men in Sweden are on average living 78.4 years and women are living 82.7 years. Just between 2003 and 2004 life expectancy in Sweden increased by 0.44 years for men and 0.25 years for women.

More and more adults are giving up smoking. Today in Sweden almost 85% of the population are non-smokers.

According to statistics from the first ten months of last year, there are signs that alcohol consumption has not continued to increase. However, it is too early to say if the rising trend has been broken, according to the report.

But the pattern of children's and young people's health development is nowhere near as positive, wrote the Board of Health and Welfare in a press statement.

During the last ten years the number of people between the ages of 15 and 24 who have been treated in hospital for alcohol poisoning has risen dramatically.

For boys and young men the number has doubled - and for girls and young women it has trebled.

The rise continued throughout 2003 and 2004, according to the board, which concluded that it is primarily young people who are affected by the increasing access to alcohol.

At the same time, more children and young people are overweight. There has also been a rise in attempted suicides among young men and women, reported the board.

"Society must invest much more in children and young people today to prevent future health problems," said Måns Rosén, head of the board's Centre for Epidemiology.

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TT/The Local

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