The percentage of Icelanders who are overweight has grown from 10% in 1990 to 20% today, according to a new study made public yesterday.
Vísir reports that Stefán Hrafn Jónsson, one of the report’s authors, strongly urged that preventative measures be taken, with special focus on children and young people. While Jónsson said that it was hard to come to a conclusion as to what exactly has caused this dramatic rise in weight gain, he believes it can be attributed to eating unhealthier food and being less physically active. Contributing factors include meal times becoming more irregular, and alcohol consumption also on the rise.
While Jónsson emphasized that being overweight is not in and of itself necessarily unhealthy, Iceland and neighbouring countries are getting heavier, and weight gain can exacerbate if not cause a number of health problems. Jónsson recommended preventative measures that begin in primary school – teaching children to eat better and by more physically active – in cooperation with local medical centres.
Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson thanked Jónsson for the report, underlining the importance of prevention, and stating that preventative medicine will be the recurring theme throughout the different branches of his ministry.