A new study shows that there are fewer overweight Icelandic children than in years previous.
Iceland is somewhat of a regional anomaly when it comes to weight problems. A study from 2010 showed Icelanders are the fourth heaviest people in Europe. However, that tide may be turning, as RÚV reports that fewer Icelandic children are overweight now than in years previous, according to a new study.
A research centre in nutrition kept track of children across the country born in 2005 up until the age of six. Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir, a professor at the University of Iceland, said that their findings showed that breastfeeding for a longer time and reducing protein in the diet contributed to a decrease in overweight children, especially among boys.
In 2003, health authorities in Iceland began to place emphasis on breastfeeding followed by formula and using less dairy. 20% of children in Iceland were overweight before the research was conducted. Afterwards, that number reduced to 10%. Protein, the research found, can actually contribute to weight problems in children.
Mikael Fogelholm, a professor at the University of Helsinki, added that other contributing factors to obesity included the fact that work and free time demands less physical movement, and that food production is being treated more like an industry, resulting in “factory-produced” food.