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Stats EU

Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030 329

An anonymous reader writes "Welcome to the club, Euro friends. A World Health Organization analysis concludes that within 15 years a majority of Europeans will be obese or severely overweight. In almost all countries the proportion of overweight and obesity in males was projected to increase – to reach 75% in UK, 80% in Czech Republic, Spain and Poland, and 90% in Ireland, the highest level calculated. Women fare a little better. In reviewing the results, the lead researcher said: "Our study presents a worrying picture of rising obesity across Europe. Policies to reverse this trend are urgently needed.""
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Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030

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  • People live longer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @05:55AM (#46965501)
    As people live longer on average, the average symptoms change. Eventually, all these older fat people will get cancer. Nothing new here.
  • by pijokela (462279) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @06:13AM (#46965545)

    The formula for BMI is weight(kg) / heigth(m) * height(m). This formula only has two terms for height, but in reality I'm a 3d person. What I mean with this is that it is easier for a short person to be "normal weigth" in BMI. As people on average get taller and taller more and more people are going to be overweight. On the other hand many of my male friends are lifting weights and they are all "overweight" while clearly they are not fat.

    So, while the problem is probably real and severe, I'd like to see a better way of measuring this stuff.

  • Re:Sugar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @06:47AM (#46965617) Homepage

    I'm skinny. Everyone comments on it. At 35 you can put your fingers around the widest parts of arms without difficulty.

    I basically live on sugar. I drink Coca-Cola endlessly (do not drink hot drinks, tend to have sugar in them when I do). I pig out on high-fat, high-sugar food and lived off fast food for many years. I eat sweets like a child and have to curb my appetite for sweets only because I work in a school and they are banned there for the kdis themselves (so I have to hide them, etc.). I also don't really exercise. At all. Ever. Never been to a gym in my life.

    Yes, I have a "health" problem that's going to catch up with me in the end. Until then, I enjoy my food. And sweets. And crisps. And everything I feel like eating.

    And people in work keep asking how I stay so skinny. How I have so much energy. I'm still the guy work colleagues ask to move heavy cabinets etc. when they need moving.

    Blanket rules curb the average, but it does not mean there's an instant 1:1 relationship with every person's metabolism and diet. I'm sure my cholesterol and blood sugar are off the scale at points in the day. But my health, generally speaking, is pretty damn good.

    I've been to doctors about 3-4 times in the last TEN YEARS. Once to have a toenail removed. Once to be diagnosed with swine flu (but had 5% of the symptoms of everyone else who had it, I just needed it confirmed as I work in schools and had to be certified off-work - I've probably had less than 5 sick days in the last five years). Three times to register with new doctors (so not medically-related, just administration). Who all take my BP, quiz me, and then never mention a thing about my health - probably because I look thin.

    I live in a country with free healthcare, so I'm certainly not self-medicating here - in fact I don't medicate... people know I'm really bad if I ask for a paracetamol as I just don't take ANYTHING generally speaking (not some hippy-drive, just don't take pills for things unnecessarily and the rare headache I have will go in the same amount of time, pills or not).

    The problem is not the general availability of high-sugar, high-fat foods. The problem is that humans are NOT all the same and BMI, in particular, is a REALLY bad measure (technically I'm underweight so advice would be to eat more of the bad stuff....). The focus on a metric rather than the person is part of the modern medical degeneration of personal contact. "I don't care who you are, you're over this number, eat less."

    I trust doctors implicitly. I consult them when required. I regard them as qualified experts in their field who don't need me bothering them for a sniffle but will trust my life to them any time. However, I also have not been to doctors in years, and also have had to go with friends to doctors and tell THEM what the problem is (and then had it confirmed by GP, consultant specialist, etc.).

    Health != skinny. Health != fat. Health != a number. It's a statistic and thus, as a mathematician, almost certainly a lie chosen to suit the intended outcome.

    Don't ban sugar, or tax it. Start with a health system that has time for patients and to listen, and go from there. People are adults who can make their own choices and who can understand the consequences in seconds if they want to. Regulating sugar - of all things - is the ultimate nanny-state.

  • Re:Sugar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @07:39AM (#46965737)

    Yeah but in the 70's and 80's foods were not nearly as laden with sugar, and the portion sizes were different -- and people ate at home more often. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to reason out that human beings do not need a 54 ounce soda. And the availability of drinks in such quantities coincide quite nicely with the rises in obesity.

    I was born in 1982 -- growing up, 16 ounces was the standard size for a bottle of soda. then it was 20, and now it's moving on up to a liter. Prior to the early 80's soda sizes were even smaller.

    I'm singling out soda because it kind of serves as a yardstick that other portion sizes can be compared to -- which, are out of control. Gigantic, out of control portion sizes at restaurants and fast food places that we frequent more than ever before.. serving a menu comprised mainly out of simple, refined, processed to hell carbohydrates. Oh and we're gulping down pure sugar by the gallon.

    This shouldn't be a fucking mystery.

  • Re:BMI is a lie! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:14AM (#46965851) Homepage

    Bah, 99.9% of the people who complain that their BMI is high because of muscles don't have that much muscles. This [klikk.no] is Olaf Tufte, former olympic champion in rowing and overall tough guy, he's 193 cm and 95 kg for a BMI of 25.5. In other words, despite being almost pure muscle he's barely overweight by BMI standards. To be "obese" he'd have to add 17 kg worth of fat to that body. It's not a body for power lifting but he'll easily carry a 50kg backpack up a mountain side if you ask him, he's outrageously well trained. Even sustaining 10 kg worth of extra muscle is a lot of work and doesn't affect the BMI that much. Fat is a different story, you can easily be 20 or 40 kg overweight. I've been your weight (adjusting for height), it's by no means skinny and only normal if you compare yourself to other overweight people.

  • by dejanc (1528235) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:27AM (#46965883)
    When I was visiting my parents once, after getting out of shower all wet and with a towel on, I got an epic line from my father: "Go back to the bathroom, put on some clothes, and lose 10 kilos, before you enter the living room".

    In many parts of Europe (I can speak for the Balkans for sure), it's perfectly normal to comment on weight and friends and family. It's not said out of malice, it's with best intentions. And if anything, when everybody you know starts commenting on how fat you are getting, you start and think if it's time to go on a diet. It also usually means that you can get some support from family and friends if you need to change your lifestyle to lose weight, so it can work out good.

    It's different with children though - they can be rough and tease/bully you for being fat. For some kids that can be an incentive to take up a sport, for some it will be nothing but trauma.
  • by Max_W (812974) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @08:50AM (#46965949)
    Closing cities to all automobile traffic. This is it.

    Commuting becomes very fast as bicycles do not need traffic lights.

    There are cargo bicycles too for supplying shops. Strangely people will eat less as they move more. Anyone who was on a long distance cycling tour could not to fail to notice it. People overeat due to to an anxiety. And regular physical activity reduces anxiety dramatically.

    As a by-product we get that there will be no bad areas in a city due to traffic noise and pollution.
  • Re:Sugar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:36PM (#46967753) Journal

    I'm skinny. Everyone comments on it. At 35 you can put your fingers around the widest parts of arms without difficulty. I basically live on sugar. I drink Coca-Cola endlessly (do not drink hot drinks, tend to have sugar in them when I do). I pig out on high-fat, high-sugar food and lived off fast food for many years. I eat sweets like a child and have to curb my appetite for sweets only because I work in a school and they are banned there for the kdis themselves (so I have to hide them, etc.). I also don't really exercise. At all. Ever. Never been to a gym in my life.

    I hate to be the one to tell you, but you're 'skinny-fat'. You're thin because you have no muscle anywhere on your body to speak of, because you probably don't eat enough protein to start with, too much carbs, and zero meaningful exercise to speak of.

    Furthermore: Someone like you, making the statements I quoted above, should not at any time be giving unsuspecting, naive people any sort of advice on diet, exercise, or fitness, because you are the absolute poorest of examples. Don't believe me? Go get body composition analysis done. Wouldn't be surprised if your bodyfat percentage is something like 30-40%, and afterwards the doctor insists on consulting with you regarding your possibly being anorexic. Additionally with your 'lifestyle' you're at serious risk for diabetes because of the high simple-carbs intake. I also wouldn't be surprised if you develop digestive issues from overgrowth of certain intestinal flora from all that sugar, tooth decay from all the sugar and carbonation, and generally declining health as you start getting older because of all the above.

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