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Poor eating habit a threat to Swedish public health

Thursday, 13 September 2012
Poor dieting has created a public health problem in Sweden. The Swedish people eat too much sugar and saturated fat, but too little fruit and vegetables. In addition, many more are too fat, according to a recent public health survey conducted by the Swedish National Food Agency, Livsmedelsverket (NFA).

It is thus high time for a common national strategy for food and health, writes Inger Andersson, Director General of the Swedish National Food Agency, Livsmedelsverket (NFA).

Today, the NFA results of a nationwide survey of Swedish peoples' eating habits in which nearly 2000 adults have registered everything they ate and drank for four days. The result makes for worry reading.
Here's what the Swedes are eating out at a glance:
• Eight out of ten eat too little fruit and vegetables.
• Seven out of ten eat little fish.
• Nine out of ten do not eat enough whole grains.
• Eight out of ten eating too much saturated fat.
• Four of ten eat too much sugar.
• Seven out of ten eating too much salt.
15 percent of energy intake - calories - from candies, soft drinks, pastries, and snacks, many young people drinking more than four litters of soda a week. Most, however, get enough vitamins and minerals.

The report also holds that the Swedish eating habits have changed over the last twenty years. In the past Swedish people used to eat more vegetables, root vegetables, legumes, fruits and berries. Mostly women increased their consumption in this manner by almost 30 percent, while men increased it's by 15 percent since 1989.

This means that the Swedish eating habit has improved in some areas, but there is still much to do before eating is good enough.

Obesity, which is the main concern, continues to increase among adults, the study show. Today, there are more overweight or obese men in Sweden than normal weight, while the situation for women is slightly better.
This increasing weight gain is costly, particularly for individuals with lower quality of life and premature death. But it also costs to society through increased sick leave and reduced work capacity.

There are also huge social differences when it comes to food and health. Generally low-income earners eat more weight gaining substance such as sweets and snacks but less vegetables and suffer a greater degree of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Differences in health have increased throughout the 1990 - and 2000's. These differences are unsustainable both economically and socially.

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