Thursday, 16 March 2023

Obesity in Croatia: This Epidemic Could Cause Some Big Problems

March 16, 2023 - If we continue like this, in 2060, 3.5 percent of our GDP will go away, and we will be spending around 5.8 billion euros on something preventable," warned Music Milanovic while discussing the problem of obesity in Croatia.

As Poslovni writes, Croatian citizens are the fattest in the European Union, and treating diseases related to obesity costs 1.7 billion euros annually, it was pointed out on Wednesday at the 7th conference on obesity at the Institute for Public Health "Dr. Andrija Štampar".

"About 35 percent of children and 65 percent of adults in Croatia are overweight or obese. Children are in the high fifth place, while our adults are European champions, both men and women," said Sanja Music Milanovic, head of the Health Promotion Service of the Croatian Public Health Service (HZJZ), before the conference.

She also stated that in 2019, 2.7 percent of the GDP was spent on obesity-related diseases.

"1.71 billion euros. If we continue like this, in 2060, 3.5 percent of our GDP will go away, and we will be spending around 5.8 billion euros on something preventable," warned Music Milanovic.

She also asserted that obesity is the result of the environment in which we live and which forces us to consume more while using less energy.

The conference was held on Croatian Obesity Awareness Day, and this year it was dedicated to young people, changes in habits and behavior.

When asked if the Government stimulates weight gain by protecting the prices of foods that make you fat, such as fatty meat, white flour, and oil, Music Milanovic said that any food is fine; it's just a matter of moderation.

Obesity is a disease and a risk factor for numerous other diseases – cardiovascular, locomotor system diseases, mental health, and certain types of cancer.

The problem of obesity at "Štampar" is approached in a multidisciplinary way; they have three counseling centers with a nutritionist, a kinesiologist, a doctor and a psychotherapist.

Last year, the Ministry of Health launched a working group to draft a proposal for an action plan to prevent obesity.

The representative of the Ministry, Ivana Portolan Pajic, reported that the coordination of the action plan, which will be followed by e-Consultations, is still ongoing and is expected to be adopted in the middle of this year.

The primary level of health care should be more concerned with obesity monitoring, said Ino Protrka, director of the Zagreb Center Health Center.

Following this lead, the Health Center Center launched two obesity prevention projects this year; at the diabetes center, they brought together a nutritionist, a pharmacologist and a diabetologist, and they're planning to introduce exercise as a doctor's prescription.

Psychiatrist Veljko Dordevic concluded that obesity was once considered an aesthetic problem, but today we know it is a health problem and one of the leading causes of mortality.

"Obesity is a deadly disease that we need to prevent, treat and monitor throughout life," he said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Obesity in Croatia in Alarming Second Place in Europe

January 19, 2023 - If there is anything as diverse as Croatia's landscape, it's the cuisine. From meats and paprika dishes in the east to olive oil, truffles, and cheese on the coast, the country eats well. Maybe a little too well. Apparently, obesity in Croatia has reached an alarming level. The country ranks second in Europe in terms of the number of overweight people, with a part of the population still unaware of their obesity.

As stated in their press release, the new WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022, published on 3 May by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, revealed that overweight and obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions across the Region and are still escalating, with none of the 53 Member States of the Region currently on track to meet the WHO Global Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) target of halting the rise of obesity by 2025.

They further emphasize that “Obesity knows no borders. In Europe and Central Asia, no single country is going to meet the WHO Global NCD target of halting the rise of obesity,” said Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “The countries in our Region are incredibly diverse, but every one is challenged to some degree. By creating environments that are more enabling, promoting investment and innovation in health, and developing strong and resilient health systems, we can change the trajectory of obesity in the Region.”

In Croatia, as HRT / Poslovni report, a part of the population is unaware of their obesity. Therefore, until the end of the year, various activities will be implemented to promote a healthy lifestyle. Their mission will primarily be to encourage Croatian citizens to start changing their eating habits and exercise levels.

Varaždin County will draw attention to this major social problem with the project "Recipe for Health - Promoting Obesity Awareness," which is 85% financed by the European Social Fund. Until the end of the year, various activities will promote a healthy lifestyle, primarily by encouraging citizens to change their eating habits and exercise.

"The project will be implemented through several levels and studies. A round table is scheduled for our general hospital doctors, as well as healthy eating and regular exercise workshops for the general population. The involvement of our students of the University of North, that is, of young health workers in this story of encouraging awareness about obesity, is great," stressed Assoc. Ph.D. Alen Pajtak, Head of the Department of Abdominal Surgery of Varaždin General Hospital.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

World Health Organization: Obesity Affects 1 in 3 Children in Croatia

July 10, 2021 - The result of the new survey conducted by the World Health Organization shows that 1 in 3 children in Croatia is overweight or obese. 

The new research conducted by Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, Croatia (CroCOSI) showed that 35% of children aged 8-9 are overweight or obese and 17.7%  of boys and 11.9% of girls in Croatia are affected. According to WHO Europe, the fact that 1 in 3 children in Croatia suffers from overweight or obesity poses a significant public health concern for Croatia.

Childhood obesity affects both the physical and mental health of children. Overweight and obese children are at a greater risk of developing many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, musculoskeletal disorders, high blood pressure, and others. Unfortunately, studies also show that children with obesity often suffer from social disadvantages and therefore, tend to develop lower self-esteem and feel socially isolated. Obesity also plays a great factor in developing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which was recorded to affect and cause over 90% of deaths in Croatia. 

The children obesity survey was conducted throughout Europe and Croatia ranked 7 among the Meditteranean European countries. The Adriatic region also showed the highest percentage of overweight or obese children in Europe with a record of 36.9%. The head of the Health Promotion Division of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Professor Sanja Musić Milanović, MD, MPH, Ph.D., said that there was an increase of 6% in overweight and obesity among girls in the Adriatic region compared to previous studies. Prof. Sanja Milanović warns that this trend is very concerning and needs to be addressed by the public health policy in Croatia.

Nutrition and lifestyle survey by CroCOSI

The results of the survey will be used to further promote the health activities in Croatian schools. Although regular physical exams for school children is mandatory in Croatia, their nutritional status, physical activity, dietary habits, and lifestyle are not collected in a standardized way. To improve the situation, Croatia joined the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) of WHO Europe and named it CroCOSI ( Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, Croatia) in 2015-2016. 

COSI is a European movement to continuously monitor the nutritional status of children through a regular collection of comparable data of school children in Croatia aged 8-8.9 years old and their families including lifestyle habits and the environment of the schools they attend. The collective data allow inter-comparison of the health and nutritional trend in Europe and are used in raising awareness of the growing rates of obesity and health problems in Croatia and all the states involved.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Croatian Men Have Heighest Rate of Obesity in EU

March 3, 2020 - The rate of obesity among the adult men in Croatia is highest among the EU states, Croatian Institute for Public Health reported and warned the public about the negative consequences of that situation.

On March 4th, the World Obesity Day is observed all over the world, and that's what lead the Croatian Institute for Public Health to warn about the dangers of the obesity, and inform the public how it's one of the largest public-health risks in the 21st century, as over 650 million people globally deal with obesity.

According to the European Health Survey, every other adult in Croatia is either overweight or obese, and this rate can be linked with the reduction in life expectancy in Croatia of as much as 3.5 years in the next 30 years. The Institute is currently running a project "To Life Healthy" (Živjeti zdravo) though which the experts are trying to highlight the fact that the causes of obesity are varied, often more complex than just the bad food habits and irregular activities. Nobody is exclusively responsible for their obesity, as many environmental factors influence it. As in many other countries in the EU, the frequency of obesity is affected by the socio-economical inequalities. The World Health Organisation, however, warns that the rate of obesity in the EU has tripled since the 1980s.

In Croatia, one in three eight-year-olds is considered to be overweight, as the problem appears earlier in life for many people. Sanja Musić Milanović, the director of the Croatian Institute for Public Health Service for Promotion of Health said that weight problems are a logical result of the social circumstances. The healthy choices are rarely the easier choices, so we need to work on the environment where it's easier to adopt good habits. To tackle that, Musić Milanović says we need to adopt the multidisciplinary approach, which will modify the surroundings, support healthy lifestyle choices, provide opportunities for physical activities each day, make healthy ingredients more easily available and stimulate companies promote healthy habits.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Croatia Ranked 8th in Obesity of the 28 EU Countries

Croatia, among the 28 member states of the European Union (EU), falls in eighth place for obesity (people with a body index greater than 30), with a representative population of 18.7% in a study conducted by Eurostat. Croatia is above the EU average of 15.9%.