World Obesity Day: Croatians Among Most Overweight European Nations

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Image: Pexels/Anna Tarazevich
Image: Pexels/Anna Tarazevich

This is due to the size of meals consisting of sweets, snacks and soft drinks having increased by 20%-100% compared to the 1960s, and the fact that the average European spends more than five hours a day sitting, says Baretić, who heads the Health Ministry’s Centre for Obesity Treatment.

The expert notes that the situation has been additionally aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with people spending more than five hours a day sitting and eating increasingly big meals, which, she says, may well result in more than half of Europe’s population being obese by 2030.

The slogan of this year’s World Obesity Day is “Everybody needs to act”, and the Croatian campaign will include awareness-raising events in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka, Solin and Sinj.

As many as 65% of adult Croatians overweight 

According to data from the Croatian Public Health Institute, in 2019, 34% of adult Croatians had a normal body weight, 1% were undernourished, and as many as 65% were overweight or obese.

The higher the age group, the higher the share of overweight people. That share is the lowest in the age group 18-24, 25%, and it is the highest in the age group 65-74, 79%.

A particularly worrying fact is that one in three children aged 8-9 are overweight, which puts Croatia among the five European countries that fare worst in that regard, says Baretić.

Obesity requires treatment because 44% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to excessive weight, as can 23% of cases of ischemic heart disease. Between 7% and 41% of certain types of cancer are caused by obesity.

Every year up to 7% of health budgets in EU member states is spent on diseases that can be linked with obesity.

Treatment requires a change of lifestyle, including introduction of a proper diet and regular physical activity. If that proves ineffective, drug treatment and surgery are introduced, and many patients also need psychological support.

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