68 Percent of Icelandic Men Overweight

Vala Hafstað

The problem of obesity has increased Iceland, just like in other OECD countries, according to an OECD book, published October 10.

Almost one in four people in OECD countries is currently obese. The book details the far-reaching consequences of this epidemic for individuals, society and the economy. It shows how overweight reduces life expectancy, increases healthcare costs, decreases workers' productivity and lowers GDP.

According to the book,  more than half the population is now overweight in 34 out of 36 OECD countries and almost one in four people is obese. From 2010 to 2016, the average rates of adult obesity in OECD countries increased from 21 to 24 percent, meaning an additional 50 million people are now obese. 

Icelandic men are faring worse than Icelandic women in this respect, according to the authors, mbl.is reports. No less than 68 percent of Icelandic men are overweight, and 24 percent of men are obese, compared with 51 percent being overweight and 19 percent obese among Icelandic women. Among Icelandic children and youth, aged 5-19, 28 percent are overweight and 10 percent obese.

To get an idea of how rapidly this problem has increased in Iceland, the rate of overweight men was 7.2 percent in 1990, and 18.9 percent in 2007. Comparable figures for Icelandic women were 9.5 percent in 1990 and 21.3 percent in 2007. 

In its review of the findings of the newly published book, OECD.org warns that “[c]hildren in particular are paying a high price for obesity. Children who are overweight do less well at school, are more likely to miss school, and, when they grow up, are less likely to complete higher education. They also show lower life satisfaction and are up to three times more likely to be bullied, which in turn may contribute to lower school performance.”

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