Croatia, among the 28 member states of the European Union (EU), falls in eighth place for obesity (people with a body index greater than 30), with a representative population of 18.7% in a study conducted by Eurostat. Croatia is above the EU average of 15.9%.
Weight seems to increase with age as the most obese population in Croatia is between 45-74 years, making up 25%, reports Dalmacija News. The tendency to gain weight also shows after 35 years, with the 35-44 age group recording 18.7% obesity.
The prevalence of obesity between the ages of 25-34 years is 8.8%, while that of young people between 18-24 is less than 10%, showing better data than in many EU countries.
When categorizing by gender in Croatia, in comparison to other EU countries, there is a significantly higher number of obese men (20.7%) than women (16.8%).
The data shows that the level of education plays a significant role in obesity, with the less educated falling into the more obese category (24.9%) than for people with secondary education (18.9%), and the lowest amount of obesity being among the highly educated (12.6%).
The specialist endocrinologist Jozo Jelčić, who has long been concerned with the problem of obesity, says the data is similar to the study of the Croatian Institute for Public Health in 2003 – the last study that seriously investigated the prevalence of obesity in Croatia, showing that 20% of people were overweight.
“All of this is worrisome, because obesity is a serious public health problem, caused by a number of diseases that collapse the quality of life,” said Jelčić.
The problem of obesity increases in age, indicates Jelčić, attributing to a change of nutritional habits and the metabolism of the organism as you get older.
The president of the Association for Obesity Prevention, Sonja Njunjić, it is unclear how Eurostat came to these results, as there is currently no systematic monitoring of obesity in Croatia.
“The association conducted a survey in 2006 on the prevalence of obesity in Zagreb, and then the measured the weight of 50,000 citizens in Zagreb. The results showed that among them, 50% were overweight and 20% were obese, with a body mass index above 30, which indicates objectively the Croatian average,” claims Njunjić.
A very worrisome fact is that obesity in children is increasing. Research conducted on the obesity of children in 2011, conducted by the HZJZ on a sample of 11,000 children, showed that obesity in children is increasing.
Comparing these results, which found 24% of children overweight and 13% of children obese, with research from 2003, where only 5% of children had excessive weight and only 2-3 % were considered obese, Njunjić concludes that if nothing is done, the obesity epidemic is yet to come.
According to Eurostat, the most obese countries are Malta (26%), Latvia (21.3%), Hungary (21.2%) and the UK (20%). The least obese countries recorded were Romania (9.4%), Italy (10.7%), the Netherlands (13.3%), Belgium and Sweden (14 percent%).