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Finland is fat… and getting fatter

October 14, 2005
I may have mentioned in a previous post that I thought Finland was becoming rather "North American" as far as food choices in the stores go. Many people say that Finland is the most "Americanized" country in all of Europe. The aisles dedicated to fast foods, chips, candy and pop (=soda, lemonade, limu) in the grocery stores are huge! Sadly Finnish kids are fatter than ever and thousands of Finnish adults are battling the bulge. Finland seems to share the title of "Europe’s fattest" country with the UK and that is not a surprise. I would venture a guess that plenty of Finnish kids bemoan exercise and eat plenty of candy daily. They’re stuck in front of their computers, video games or TV for hours on end. Adults complain that they do not have time to exercise. A lot of Finns do not realize (or care about) the risk posed to their health by high cholesterol or by carrying extra weight around the waistline. (As reported by Helsingin Sanomat International and YLE24 News)
 
Helsingin Sanomat International has picked up on the issue of junk food advertising, with the advent of voluntary guidelines for advertising aimed at children: http://www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english/article/Officials+set+voluntary+guidelines+for+advertising+targeting+children%0D%0A/1101981272529 (There are some relevant stats quoted here too.)
 
The weight loss industry has become a multi-million euro business in just a matter of years here in Finland. Advertisements have sprung that point to quick-fix weight loss programs and new ways to lose weight without doing any exercise. If you visit a pharmacy in Finland you can find many different weight loss "solutions" on the shelves. It just doesn’t work that way… One thing that has caught our attention when the Mr. and I go shopping is the amount of fat in some of the foods we used to enjoy a lot of. In the last year or so we have taken a closer look at food labels to assess the fat content and I am sure this has made a difference in our diets. There are a lot of things that we just don’t buy anymore. One thing that we also try to remember is that just because it is fat-free or low fat, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories – which ultimately too many of, will pack on the weight that Finns are complaining about.
 
Hey! Why are you reading this? You (and I!) should be out there enjoying the fresh air!
 
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