About 1.2 million Finns suffer from obesity, according to new figures. The disease is most prevalent in the 40-64 age group, where one in three people is obese.
About 30% of women in Finland have a body mass index (BMI) that exceeds the obesity threshold. For men, the figure is 27%, according to the Healthy Finland study by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.
Among men of working age (20-64 years), obesity has increased by 3 percentage points and among women by 4 percentage points compared to 2017. The weight of an average man of average height has increased by 1.6 kg and that of an average woman by 1.8 kg.
– Obesity is on the rise and the problems it causes are getting out of hand. Obesity is responsible for billions of dollars in additional healthcare costs each year. Now more than ever, comprehensive societal measures are needed to stop the weight gain in the population. Such methods could include taxes and marketing restrictions on unhealthy foods, says Associate Professor Annamari Lundqvist, who led the study.
Increased risk of diabetes
Nearly one in two adults has abdominal obesity, defined as a waist measurement of more than 90 centimeters for women and more than 100 centimeters for men. At the same time, it is estimated that more than half a million Finns suffer from diabetes and that a fifth of them have the disease without knowing it.
Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in particular, and it is estimated that almost 160,000 Finns will develop the disease in the next 10 years if the risk factors are not addressed. Lundqvist believes that comprehensive social measures are needed to reverse the negative trend.
– For example, we can increase taxes on unhealthy products to reduce consumption. At the same time, the production of healthy foods should be supported so that their price is kept at a reasonable level. It should make economic sense to make healthy choices, she told the Swedish newspaper Yle.
The survey was conducted by randomly selecting people aged 20 and over for a comprehensive health survey. Of these, 5,800 (58% of those invited) participated in the health survey.