Icelanders love fast food. In fact, last year we reported that those aged 16-25 eat it every other day. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Icelandic kids are the 2nd heaviest in Europe, according to new figures published by the OECD.
The report states that around 20% of 15-year-olds in Iceland are either overweight or obese (second only to Greece). Parents didn’t do much better either, and we’re pretty sure Costco’s bulk burger patties aren’t going to help. Icelandic moms and dads are more likely to be overweight compared to the vast majority of our Nordic neighbours.
We spoke to Inga Þórsdóttir, Professor of Nutrition and Dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Iceland, and she said that when children start school, there is no increase in obesity.
“In some cases the number of overweight children actually declines,” she said. “The same cannot be said for the number of children who are obese, however.”
Teenagers have their own agenda
“Sugar is a real problem,” She said. “Sport is very popular in younger children, but it becomes less important as they grow older – teenagers have their own agenda.”
Inga explains that in order to make up for lack of available public health information, people take to the internet to find solutions.
“We are very well educated people, but we have not managed to present basic information for people to follow,” Inga said. “Competing media is so loud that sound advice doesn’t come through schools or the healthcare system.”
Why are we behind our Nordic neighbours?
“When it comes to prevention and early treatment, we are lagging We need more resource for public health intervention strategies for teenagers to prevent complications and disease in later life.”
Inga also believes that psychological support is really important to help kids with their weight.
“We have additional issues with the number of teenagers experiencing anxiety or depression in modern times, therefore, psychological intervention could make a big difference,” she concluded.
Either way, this not a runner up spot Iceland should be proud of. We should try to be the second best chess nation, or maybe try to become the top two bowling country in Europe (behind Moldova), just not this.
You can read the full report here.
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