Since 2004. some 100,000 women have joined the ranks of the obese, according to figures from the National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet).
Three years ago, 378,000 women – or 11 percent of the adult female population – were classified as obese.
But by late 2007, 490,000 women (14 percent) were found to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, which is the cut-off point for obesity.
The figures for Swedish men have remained relatively stable over the same period.
“It is a worrying development. It seems that where women are concerned there have been new recruits from the normal weight group to the overweight group and from the overweight group to the obese group,” said institute dietary expert Gunnar Johansson in a statement.
The new statistics did not provide an explanation for the underlying reasons behind the increase. But the government agency pointed to the need for more effective preventive measures.
“We are currently working on a Nordic development project to get healthcare staff to discuss dietary issues with their patients,” said Johansson.
Viewed as a whole, men continue to have more weight problems than women: 53 percent of Swedish men are either overweight or obese, compared to 40 percent of women.
The figures are based on the agency’s annual public health survey. In 2007, some 10,000 Swedes between the ages of 16-84 responded to the agency’s questionnaire.