Czechs are getting fatter

Svickova and dumplings, a Czech favorite

According to specialists, Czechs are getting fatter. 70 percent of all Czechs aged over 18 are overweight, and 30 percent of them are obese. Some of them very much so. The fattest Czech ever treated for obesity weighed 330 kilograms, the fattest Czech woman - 280. Even though most fat people do not achieve such enormous size, the number of fat people is alarming, and the situation is even more alarming amongst children. In fact, over the past 30 years, the percentage of obese children in the Czech Republic has doubled. Olga Szantova discussed the situation with cardiologist Frantisek Koelbel. Since Dr. Koelbel represents the Czech Republic in the European commission of the World Health Organization, she asked him where the Czech Republic stands in comparison to other developed countries.

"Unfortunately, the percentage of obesity is very high in the Czech population and especially people of the age around 50 and over are obese - 50 percent of them, maybe even more. So that we are among the countries that have very high prevalence of obesity."

The number of children that are obese has increased over the past 30 years from 7 percent to 15.

"Yes, and certainly also the level of physical fitness in children and youngsters as a whole, as an average has gone down."

Why is that so? After'89 we have started eating more fruit, more vegetables, we are leading a healthier life-style.

"Maybe that some groups of younger population and some of our youngsters are more reasonable in selecting their food, but quite a lot of people misinterpret healthy lifestyle, they do not exercise, they do not do any regular sports activities, they do not realize that to work once or twice a month in a garden is nothing with respect to gaining physical fitness. And children generally are living, if I say it in a very cruel way, they are living a very lazy life, following TV and that's about it."

So, in this sense, we have caught up with the developed world?

"Yes, we have very big problems that are generally present in all developed countries and I think that it is a very important role both of the medical and lay information media to educate people to a really real healthy way of life-style."

Is enough being done in this sense?

"There are attempts, certainly, but it's never possible to say that enough was done."

Author: Olga Szantová
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