23 August 2004
BRUSSELS – Nearly one in three Belgians is obese, according to new figures released on Monday.
This figure is expected to double by 2030, says a survey by the Belgian Association for the Study of Obesity.
The nation’s growing weight problem is also turning into a heavy cost burden on the health service.
In 2000, the medical cost of the main diseases associated with obesity – diabetes, hypertension, heart problems – rose to EUR 600 million, almost 6 percent of the budget of social security giant, INAMI.
The costs of administering drugs to lower cholesterol levels tripled between 1997 and 2003, from EUR 38,123,780 to EUR 167,488,312.
Obesity can also take a heavy toll on quality of life and the ability to work.
It has already been proven in Belgium that absenteeism and the risk of work-related accidents increase with weight.
Around 54 percent more accidents occur with those workers who body mass index lies at 40, compared to those who have a normal BMI.
The rate of absenteeism at this figure is 58 percent higher.
Specialists are not surprised by the latest survey as they have already confirmed that 49 percent of Belgian men and 28 percent of Belgian women are overweight.
Currently in France and Belgium, 19 percent of children between nine and twelve are considered overweight or obese.
In Belgium, 15 percent of adolescents are obese.
The figures show a trend that is repeating itself across Europe.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news