Obesity Becoming Major Problem in Croatia

Total Croatia News

About 60% of Croats are overweight or obese.

Obesity is increasingly becoming a global epidemic, and Croatia in no exception. About 60 percent of the population is overweight or obese, so it is important to work at all levels on preventive methods to lower the percentage, because obesity can cause a range of chronic diseases, warned the participants of the Croatian Obesity Day conference held on Friday in Zagreb.

According to the World Health Organization, 64 percent of men and 52 percent of women in Croatia are overweight or obese, and the situation is alarming with children as well, given that 19 percent of Croatian children are overweight and seven percent are obese.

Diabetologist Željko Metelko said that obesity was an unprecedented global pandemic, and therefore believed that the problem of obesity should be addressed by all stakeholders, from the government and the Ministry of Health to civil society and the Catholic Church. It is a serious problem that significantly shortens the lifespan of people and will have disastrous consequences on the health budget in the future.

“Obesity is one of the main problems affecting the general health and the occurrence of chronic non-communicable diseases, which are a consequence of obesity and the most common cause of morbidity among citizens”, stressed Mira Šitum, the head of the City Department of Health.

Zagreb has been trying for many years to reduce obesity level among its citizens. “We have established clinics for obesity in large health centres, which employ multidisciplinary teams to diagnose the condition and treat people who already feel the consequences of obesity, high blood pressure and problems in cardiovascular system”, said Šitum.

In cooperation with the Association for Obesity Prevention, the city has opened a counselling centre which is available to all citizens, who no longer have to go to a hospital to tackle the issue. Also, in kindergartens and primary schools a more healthy diet has been introduced in order to reduce overweight and obesity levels among children.

President of the Association for Obesity Prevention Sonja Njunjić expects that the government will recognize the importance of the problem of obesity and proclaim the Day of Obesity Awareness. She emphasized that, for the fight against obesity, it was crucial to have a coordinated action of all stakeholders – medical professionals, NGOs dealing with the problem, and patients. “We should all be networked, from family physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, because it is not enough to tell people ‘eat less’, but we have to establish a system to motivate people to use their own mind in order to fight obesity”, concluded Njunjić.


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