OECD finds Icelanders to be obese
New data from the OECD indicates that Icelanders are among the most overweight of the nations of Europe, the prevalence of obesity in Iceland is 21% and while almost 60% are overweight. Obesity is in fact a major topic for the healthcare industry in Iceland. Paul Matthíasson, director of the National Hospital explained that obesity is one of the main health threat we face today.
Late last year the OECD published updated data on the general status of health within the nations of Europe. According to this data, Icelanders are number six on the most obese list. 21% of the population is obese while a whooping 60% is overweight.
Obesity has furthermore increased sharply since the turn of the century or from 12% in 2000 to 21% in 2010 while still lower than in countries such as the United States and Mexico it is none the less a cause for concern. It should however be noted that the methodology used by the OECD has undergone certain criticism as percentages are based on the results of lifestyle surveys, but not direct measurements.
Nonetheless further observations and studies suggest that obesity has increased significantly from the turn of the century. Report of the Council of Ministers had built in 2011, and included data on healthy diet plans, physical activity and body composition in Nordic countries shows that Icelanders are the most overweight of Nordic countries.
Various approaches have been used to gain control of this health hazard, one of them is the reality show Biggest Loser Iceland, a popular show used to influence the perception in Iceland of obesity. Season number two finished recently where the 14 contestants together lost over half a ton seven months. I had previously talked to a surgeon, which helped, I lost pounds.
However the solution lies not only in the number of pounds which are lost as the root of the problem needs to be addressed. A group from the Ministry of Welfare , put together an action plan to reduce the prevalence of obesity. Elva Gísladóttir , dieting and nutrition coordinator at the Directorate of Health , was a part of the group “Among the things we recommended to the government was to promote healthy habits on a broad social basis without specific focus on obesity or weight. ”
The program has various priorities, for example, to raise the price of soft drinks. ” But since this program was initiated the trend has been in the opposite direction, as the government abolished the sugar tax last year.
It is clear that the increased prevalence of obesity in this country will undoubtedly promote health challenges , such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and thereby increase the costs on the health system in the future. ” The need for health care has been increasing in recent years and this trend will continue . Alongside this we will need to increase awareness of the problem as we see that such programs give results. Our campaign to combat smoking for example has been very successful says Pall Matthíasson director of the National Hospital.