Irish Could Be Europe’s
Fattest People by 2030

Photo by Brian Harris / Rex Features. Irish medical Times.

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
August / September 2014

Anew study conducted by the World Health Organization and the UK Health Forum has issued a dire prediction of the obesity rates in Europe, with Ireland predicted to become the fattest country in Europe by 2030.

The study found that 90 percent of Irish men and 84 percent of Irish women would be classified as overweight or obese by then. A lack of exercise and a diet high in sugar and fats are mainly to blame.

UK Health Forum’s Dr. Laura Webber said after the study was released, “There is no silver bullet for tackling this. We need a comprehensive package of approaches to support healthy eating and more physical activity in daily life.”

While these statistics are shocking, Webber believes the figures are underestimated as they do not include child obesity statistics.

This news comes after a global study conducted by the World Health Organization and University of Ulster gave Northern Ireland a D minus in physical activity levels for school children.

Of the 419 primary schools surveyed only 17 percent said their students were getting two or more hours of physical activity per week. Ireland itself rested in the middle of the pack, but Chair of the World Health Organization Health Enhancing Physical Activity Working Group Dr. Catherine Woods said, “this report will set a benchmark for the island of Ireland from which to work to further improve the opportunities offered to children to be active.”

If the answer to the obesity epidemic is to provide information about healthy ways of living, the Irish are fighting back with an ongoing Safefood campaign to spread awareness of childhood obesity by limiting treats, increasing activity, getting sufficient sleep, and monitoring sugary drinks. And while initial research showed that 54 percent of parents with overweight children believed their weight was fine, the campaign seems to be working, as follow up statistics found 82 percent of the 400 people polled said that they were motivated to think about the food they were giving their children.

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