When you think of obesity, your brain might quickly jump across the Atlantic to America. Worryingly, new figures from the World Health Organisation, suggest that Ireland has nothing to be smug about, in fact we’re on our way to becoming one of the most obese nations in Europe.
If we continue as we are, it is expected that by 2030, obesity estimates in Irish women will jump from 23% to 57% while men are expected to rise from 26 to 48%. An obesity crisis of ‘enormous proportions’ in every sense of the word.
As reported by The Irish Times, the proportion of obese and overweight men in Ireland is projected to rise to 89 per cent with a corresponding 85 per cent of women falling into this category.
With news like this, it suddenly makes sense to read of stories in which the Irish population goes bananas over certain chocolate bars being removed from shelves, the rumoured-but-not-true case of Nutella being discontinued forever and the supposed arrival of the Krispy Kreme franchise to these emerald shores.
Dr Laura Webber, from the UK Health Forum in London, who co-led the research, said: “Our study presents a worrying picture of rising obesity across Europe. Policies to reverse this trend are urgently needed. Although there is no ‘silver bullet’ for tackling the epidemic, governments must do more to restrict unhealthy food marketing and make healthy food more affordable.
“There are also some countries in which there were insufficient data. As these countries improve their obesity surveillance, more accurate estimates can be forecast.”
Ireland and most European countries’ obesity and overweight levels are on the rise and few are showing any signs of stabilising. As for reducing? Not a chance. Currently, the Netherlands have been touted as the healthiest in this regard, so if there’s one nation whose lifestyle choices you should pay attention to, it’s these dudes.
What measures are we going to take, collectively, to change these staggering statistics?