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Over half of adults in Central Europe considered overweight

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Bratislava, Slovakia – More than half of the adult population in Central Europe is considered overweight, according to new figures by Eurostat.

Based on the latest available data, around 51% of adults in the EU are overweight – meaning that their body mass index (BMI) is superior to 25. Around 16% of European adults are considered obese, according to Eurostat, and only 3% underweight.

High obesity rates observed in CEE countries

Quick reminder for those who forgot what the BMI stands for: the most accepted tool to measure obesity in adults, the body mass index is calculated as a person’s weight divided by the square of his or her height.

A BMI inferior to 18.5 is considered underweight, while an adult is seen as overweight and obese with a BMI superior to 25 and 30, respectively.

Central and Eastern European countries have among the highest rates of overweight people in the EU, according to Eurostat.

In the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, approximately 58% of the adult population are seen as overweight.

With almost a quarter of its population considered obese, Hungary had the second highest obesity rate in the EU after Ireland.

Nearly 2 billion people overweight worldwide

In Poland, the rate of overweight and obese people stood at 57% and 18.5% respectively.

The EU countries with the lowest shares of overweight people last year were Italy, France and Luxembourg.

In all EU member states, a higher share of men than women were overweight, with the largest gaps found in Luxembourg, Czech Republic and Cyprus.

Ireland, on the other hand, recorded the highest shares of both underweight (17.4%) and obese (25.8%) people in the EU.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 1.9 billion people around the world are considered overweight, including more than 650 million suffering from obesity. Experts believe that millions of people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese – with obesity additionally seen as a significant underlying health condition of people who contracted a severe form of Covid-19 or died from the virus.

For more information, you can find the source dataset right here.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Warsaw and Budapest.