torsdag 6 maj 2010

Why are we getting fatter?

I write my column Swedish Meatballs? in TCS Daily on 16 February 2004.
We may be getting fat, but why?
Today 50 percent of Swedish men and 33 percent of Swedish women are overweight. Some 10 percent are obese, almost double the amount compared to the 1980s. The situation of Swedish children is regarded as particularly serious; 18 percent of all children between 6 and 17 are overweight.

These are dire figures for Sweden, a country that has long prided itself on its public health records. Despite paternalistic efforts by the Swedish government to promote healthy lifestyles and to ban or tax unhealthy ones, Sweden seems to be a quite normal European country when it comes to obesity and very much part of what the World Health Organization calls an epidemic of obesity.

There has been a long debate about the increased rates of obesity in society, both in Europe and in the US. Often this has been discussed in terms of good or bad food, rather than in terms of good or bad diets. This has led to a discussion promoting simplified solutions like suing companies that produce fat foods, levying taxes on fatty food, banning the advertising of certain types of food. But these reactions ignore the fact that people gain wait for reasons a lot more complex that just what they eat.
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