LONDON - Reuters
The rate of obesity in France is close to twice what it was in 1990 but at 12.9 percent it is still less than half the rate in Britain of 26.1 percent, figures show.
More than half of Europeans are obese or overweight, adding significant pressure to healthcare costs at a time when spending is being cut by governments, the OECD and European Commission said Nov. 16.
On average across the European Union, health spending per capita rose by 4.6 percent a year in real terms between 2000 and 2009, but fell 0.6 percent in 2010.
In a report on health across the 27-nation bloc, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Brussels-based Commission, said 52 percent of adults in the EU are now overweight or obese.
The report blamed physical inactivity and the widespread availability of energy-dense, sugary and fatty foods.
In 18 countries out of the 27 member states, the proportion of overweight and obese adults now exceeds 50 percent and the obesity rate, at 17 percent on average across the region, has doubled since 1990 in many countries.
“(The rise) is a major public health concern,” the report said. “Because obesity is associated with higher risks of chronic illnesses, it is linked to significant additional healthcare costs.”
The report noted that the growing cost burden coincided with governments around Europe
cutting spending to reduce the debts left over from the 2008 financial crisis. “Spending had already started to fall in 2009 in countries hardest hit by the economic crisis,” it said. “But this was followed by deeper cuts in 2010 in response to growing budgetary pressures and rising debt-to-GDP ratios.”