If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times – the Maltese are the most obese nation in the European Union, but in reality how much attention do they pay to campaigns calling for moderation in food consumption?
A third of the Maltese population have an obesity problem. This was confirmed last year in studies carried out by Eurostat and the World Health Organisation who found that almost 30% of Maltese are obese. This is not just a question of being overweight but a situation which could pose a danger to their health.
This does not augur well for the younger generations because the obesity rate among eleven year old boys and girls is almost 38% for boys, and 32% for girls.
Expert nutritionist Mario Caruana said that the Maltese are greedy but attributed the obesity phenomenon to a combination of factors including lifestyle, lack of exercise, and portion sizes. He said that this, along with the popularity of junk food such as cheesecakes, pies, burgers and chips, and alcoholic beverages are leading to calorie consumption in excess of that which is recommended.
Dr Caruana appealed for solutions not to be drastic but recommended wisdom and a mentality based on moderation and facts.
“There are thousands of diets at the moment and recently a book was released, an encyclopedia on various diets that have emerged since the seventies. One, however, must be careful from a medical standpoint when cutting out certain food groups, because it is not just a question of calories. There are basic and essential nutrients which if cut out in the long-term, could also have repercussions on human health ”
It appears however that health campaigns are not falling on deaf ears entirely because there were some who claimed to pay attention to what they eat and drink.
According to a Eurostat study there is a clear link between obesity and education levels , because the obesity rate among those with higher levels of education has halved.