Obesity in Croatia: This Epidemic Could Cause Some Big Problems

Katarina Anđelković

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As Poslovni writes, Croatian citizens are the fattest in the European Union, and treating diseases related to obesity costs 1.7 billion euros annually, it was pointed out on Wednesday at the 7th conference on obesity at the Institute for Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar”.

“About 35 percent of children and 65 percent of adults in Croatia are overweight or obese. Children are in the high fifth place, while our adults are European champions, both men and women,” said Sanja Music Milanovic, head of the Health Promotion Service of the Croatian Public Health Service (HZJZ), before the conference.

She also stated that in 2019, 2.7 percent of the GDP was spent on obesity-related diseases.

“1.71 billion euros. If we continue like this, in 2060, 3.5 percent of our GDP will go away, and we will be spending around 5.8 billion euros on something preventable,” warned Music Milanovic.

She also asserted that obesity is the result of the environment in which we live and which forces us to consume more while using less energy.

The conference was held on Croatian Obesity Awareness Day, and this year it was dedicated to young people, changes in habits and behavior.

When asked if the Government stimulates weight gain by protecting the prices of foods that make you fat, such as fatty meat, white flour, and oil, Music Milanovic said that any food is fine; it’s just a matter of moderation.

Obesity is a disease and a risk factor for numerous other diseases – cardiovascular, locomotor system diseases, mental health, and certain types of cancer.

The problem of obesity at “Štampar” is approached in a multidisciplinary way; they have three counseling centers with a nutritionist, a kinesiologist, a doctor and a psychotherapist.

Last year, the Ministry of Health launched a working group to draft a proposal for an action plan to prevent obesity.

The representative of the Ministry, Ivana Portolan Pajic, reported that the coordination of the action plan, which will be followed by e-Consultations, is still ongoing and is expected to be adopted in the middle of this year.

The primary level of health care should be more concerned with obesity monitoring, said Ino Protrka, director of the Zagreb Center Health Center.

Following this lead, the Health Center Center launched two obesity prevention projects this year; at the diabetes center, they brought together a nutritionist, a pharmacologist and a diabetologist, and they’re planning to introduce exercise as a doctor’s prescription.

Psychiatrist Veljko Dordevic concluded that obesity was once considered an aesthetic problem, but today we know it is a health problem and one of the leading causes of mortality.

“Obesity is a deadly disease that we need to prevent, treat and monitor throughout life,” he said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.


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