There have been recent mentions of the French and how they manage to stay so thin, but the French thinness does not exempt Europe from the serious modern health issue of obesity.
In reports by the Associated Press and the BBC, around half of all Europeans are overweight or obese and the EU wants to tackle this issue. The EU Health Commissioner has told the BBC that it is time to get tough and that it may be necessary to bring in new food and drink rules. According to the BBC, EU Health Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou said „Europe needed healthier food and stronger advertising codes.” Before enforcing new rules on the food and drink industry Kyprianou has given them the chance to step up and make changes themselves.
The Health Commissioner has given the industry about three years to make changes. When that time period is up a review will occur and any necessary law changes enforced on the industry. When speaking about the obesity problem in Europe, Kyprianou told the Associated Press, „The numbers are frightening.” „Everybody has to be blamed, including the authorities, including the industry, including the consumers.” According to Kyprianou the increasing bad diets of Europeans and the lessening of physical activity are the leading causes of health problems. One of the biggest rises in obesity is occurring in children. Speaking with the Associated Press, Kyprianou said, „If we don't act, today's overweight children will be tomorrow's heart attack victims.”
At the moment within the EU it is estimated that more than 21 million children can be classed as overweight. That is a number that is worryingly rising significantly each year. As reported by Irish Health, „one in three Europeans does not exercise in their free time, the new European Commission White Paper on Nutrition reports.” Kyprianous has said that the changes in diet are major contributors to, „the majority of the member states, more than 50% of the adult population is overweight or obese.” The southern countries whose health came from healthy Mediterranean diets are leaving this food behind for more convenient higher in fat and lower in vegetable meals.
Since the 1960s the amount of cereals being eaten by Europeans has decreased by 25%. The BBC has the EU countries with the most overweight populations as follows. Malta comes first with 26.6 % of the population being overweight or obese. Then comes Greece at 25.9%, Finland at 25.8%, Luxembourg at 25.7%, Hungary at 25.6%, Cyprus at 25.6%, Lithuania at 25.5%, Slovenia at 25.5%, Denmark at 25.5% and the UK at 25.4%. (associatedcontent.com)