Fat Catalan MPs lend weight to obesity study

Catalan politicians are being weighed and measured as part of the fight against obesity that threatens the health of Spain's children.

Fat Catalan MPs lend weight to obesity study
Almost 80% of male Catalan MPs 'at serious risk of heart disease' says study. Photo: GREG WOOD / FILES AFP / AFP

Politicians in Barcelona have been accused of being 'Fat Cats' but not for the usual reasons, according to a report in Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

A study by the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) has revealed that 79.7% of the men in Catalonia's parliament are at serious risk of heart disease because of their weight, compared with only 25.6% of the women.

Doctor Xavier Formiguera weighed and measured the waists of 66 of the 135 parliamentary members as the jumping-off-point for further research.

"The study allows us to lay the groundwork for more substantial research that we will undertake in the coming months to track the members of parliament from their arrival in government to the end of their time in office," explained Dr. Formiguera.

"We hope that other chambers of government will become aware of this experience to spread awareness of the serious problem of obesity in Spain and to curb its growth, starting with the political class who should set an example to other citizens," he said.

Formiguera added: "Although in theory they are well informed about the fight against excess weight, this study shows that they suffer from the same problems as the rest of the population."

"The trend needs to be changed because it's up to them to create the policies to combat obesity."

Spain's obesity crisis has been in the spotlight after a study reported by ABC newspaper revealed that almost 30% of Spanish children between the ages of 3 and 12 are overweight.

Spain has been ranked as one of the European countries most affected by the obesity epidemic, a trend which, according to the World Health Organization, is likely to get worse in the coming years.


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4 in 5 Spanish men will be overweight by 2030: WHO

Shift from Mediterranean diet to fast food will result in 80 percent of Spanish men and 55 percent of women being overweight by 2030, the World Health Organisation has warned.

4 in 5 Spanish men will be overweight by 2030: WHO
Photo of overweight men: Shutterstock

Spaniards are packing on the kilos at an alarming rate.

That’s according to an investigation by the country’s Mar de Barcelona hospital –backed up by the World Health Organisation – which found that 80 percent of Spanish men and 55 percent of women will be overweight by 2030 if current trends continue.

According to their data this will mean that 27 million people in Spain will be overweight in 11 years time, representing a hefty €3 billion bill for the country’s public health system.

The news comes just months after another study by the US’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation claimed Spaniards will have the longest life expectancy in the world by 2040, largely thanks to the health benefits of their famed Mediterranean diet.

The American institution’s findings clash with those published in the Spanish Cardiology Magazine this week, as the latter suggest there is a growing shift among the Spanish population towards eating foods made up of processed fats and sugars rather than the traditional fruit and veg found in Spanish cuisine.

“There are currently 25 million people in Spain who are overweight, three million more than a decade ago,” Dr Albert Goday, one of the authors of the study, said of his team's findings.

“That means that conservatively there will be three million more (16 percent) by 2030 if the trend continues.”

“In men excess weight is more common up to the age of 50 whereas from 50 onward obesity rises more among women due our hormonal metabolisms.”

Researchers used data from 300,000 people’s BMI between 1987 and 2014 to conduct the study and make their estimations.

Adult Body Mass Index (BMI), a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres, will classify someone as overweight is it’s between 25 and 30, and obese if it’s over 30.

Being overweight can result in a higher risk of suffering diabetes, hypertension, strokes, cancer and heart attacks.

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