A recent report by the European Commission on Obesity has found that obesity levels in Ireland are far higher than the EU average. Not only that, but by 2030 Ireland could be the fattest nation in Europe, with 89% of men and 85% women being overweight. While this might not be the most shocking news for people who regularly stroll down Dublin’s cobbled streets, it does seem certain that quick steps need to be taken to prevent a veritable obesity disaster here.


How were obesity levels measured?

The study was carried out using a forecast exercise in 37 different countries. Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25 would put you in the overweight category. Beyond 30 and you would be obese. Sadly enough, it seems Ireland has a fairly good percentage in both these divisions.

How are other countries faring in the 2030 projection?

  1. UK: 33% of women will be obese by 2030. 64% of women and 74% of the men will be in the overweight category.
  2. Greece: Greece will also see a high rise in obesity levels with 77% of Greek men predicted to be overweight. For women, the number will be about 67%. The proportion of obese people is expected to double from 20 to 40%.
  3. Spain: Obesity among women in Spain will see an increase from 16% to 21%. In men it will rise from 19 to 36%.
  4. Czech Republic: Here the projected number of obese women is 37% and for men it is 36%.
  5. The Netherlands: The Dutch fared the best in the study and seem to be the thinnest people in the EU. Only 8% of men will be obese by 2030, according to the study. For women the obesity level is expected to drop from 13 to 9%.

Irish men were placed in top of an overweight table of 53 countries, along with Uzbekistan. Bulgaria and Belgium are expected to have the highest number of overweight women.

Disease and Disability

By 2030, 57% of Irish women are projected to be obese. This growing number has been linked to a number of diseases and disabilities all over the world. Even countries that traditionally have lesser number of obese people are seeing a sharp increase. These include Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway. Heart diseases, cardiovascular ailments and blood sugar problems have all been linked to growing obesity. Obesity is also the reason for 5% of all deaths worldwide. Overall it is a worrying trend that needs to be controlled.

Steps to control obesity

This obesity epidemic is seen as worrying trend and many experts have called for steps to curb it. Many feel that governments need to restrict unhealthy food marketing and also promote natural foods. Benefits of playing sports should also be inculcated in students from an early age. Fitness and exercise, along with healthy eating, are going to be the only way to get the population healthy again. In fact, it has also been seen the students who played sports in school were also more likely to live healthier lives. According to Dr Joao Breda, from the WHO, the bleak picture of an obese EU needs to be addressed immediately.