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Getting fatter: More than every second Austrian is overweight

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Getting fatter: More than every second Austrian is overweight

According to the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK), just over half of adults and around a quarter of children and young people are currently overweight (body mass index/BMI 25 to 29) or obese (BMI from 30). Men are more commonly affected in all age groups and the frequency increases sharply with age, it was emphasized in a press release. Specifically, 41 percent of men in Austria are overweight and 18 percent are obese. The proportion of women is slightly lower, with 27 percent overweight and 15 percent obese. The problem begins with the youngest children: even among nine-year-olds, more than 31 percent of boys and 29 percent of girls are overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a chronic disease in which many different factors interact in its development and progression. These include lifestyle aspects such as diet and exercise, and in around 70 percent of those affected also genetic factors,” explained doctor Florian Kiefer. The president of the Austrian Obesity Alliance reported that stigmatization and psychological consequences could result from secondary diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or heart attacks. The effects on society, the economy and the health system are also serious. OECD forecasts for Europe show that obesity will reduce Austria’s GDP by an average of 2.5 percent per year between 2020 and 2050. Indirect costs such as sick leave and early retirement are also included here.

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