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Over half of Swedes are overweight or obese

Published torsdag 20 april kl 10.34
Fatima Azerkan: people tend to lead more inactive lives
(2:28 min)
Half of Swedes are overweight or obese.
Half of Swedes are overweight or obese. Credit: FREDRIK SANDBERG / TT

Half of Sweden's population, between the age of 16 and 84, is obese or overweight, according to a report into the health of the nation.

The findings from the annual national survey by the Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten), show that 51 percent of Swedes (aged 16 to 84) are obese or overweight.

The annual report highlights the differences in physical health of people who go onto higher education and those who do not. Those without upper secondary education are more likely to suffer from physical and mental illness and have a shorter life expectancy. 

The 2017 Development of Public Health report shows a rise in young people suffering from poor mental health.

To reverse the trend, Johan Carlson, the general director of the Public Health Agency, said that health must be put at the centre of political decisions.

We have seen the development over several decades and nothing has changed. It cannot be solved by a few simple measures in healthcare, but health issues must be put at the heart of politics in a different way, much like the economy or the environment, "

He told Swedish news agency TT that policy measures must always be balanced against the consequences for public health.

"We must understand that society is affecting health and that society is affected by health development," he said.

From an international perspective, public health in Sweden is good, with improving life expectancy and declining smoking rates and dangerous levels of alcohol consumption.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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