Being raised in Austria and Germany, and having a large portion of my family in Switzerland, it was the next natural step for me to commission my Health Fitness Revolution team to devise a plan of action. Because I am very familiar with these countries, I know their eating, drinking, and athletic habits. Health studies are calling Germany the most overweight nation in Europe, so I had Health Fitness Revolution – the movement I started in the U.S. – do detailed research on the German speaking countries in Western Europe, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
I was largely educated in Austria and Germany, therefore, my success as a renowned fitness expert in America is largely influenced by the knowledge I obtained in Europe. Because of this, I am emotionally connected to both Germany and Austria, and wish them to be healthier and fitter so that they continue to flourish as one of the strongest economies in Europe with a discipline, engineering, and punctuality unmatched by any other nation. Healthy body, healthy mind- therefore, I hope that with this research we can help this region, which already has such a rich history and culture, to improve their healthy lifestyle and create balance not only within themselves, but also their countries.
I must give kudos where it is due- these three countries had readily available data on the obesity epidemic, which tells me that their governments are well aware of the problem.
There is a clear link between obesity and poor health in this region. More than half of the adult population in Germany is overweight or obese, making them more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart attacks. Obese individuals are more than twice as likely as normal weight and underweight individuals to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and to suffer a heart attack. Those who are obese are more than six times as likely as those who are normal weight and underweight to have diabetes. Obesity and the chronic conditions it can cause are a major drain on individuals, workplaces, and societies.
They increase healthcare costs and decrease productivity and overall wellbeing. Leaders in Europe are becoming increasingly aware of and committed to improving their nation’s weight problems, recently, there was a public debate in Europe on how to better inform consumers with more appropriate nutritional labeling of food products. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the cost in Germany alone due to obesity and illnesses caused by obesity is between 7.75 and 13.55 Billion Euros.
I believe that the governments and EU leaders can be even more proactive in curbing the growing obesity epidemic in Europe. Based on research in 2008 by Zweiten National Verzehrstudie, 70% of men and 50% of woman in Germany are overweight and 20% of all Germans are obese with a BMI of over 30.
The Austrian Ministry of Health states that 11% of Austrians are obese with a BMI of over 30, and 41% are overweight with a BMI of over 25. In Switzerland, the University Clinic of Lausanne reports that 30% of the Swiss population are overweight and 23% are obese. Now about the kids in the region: Data from a 2006 study by Gesundheit von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland (KiGGS) shows that there were 1.9 million overweight children with 800,000 of them being obese at the time. Considering that in 1985 that number was 50% less, we can only imagine what it must be now, in 2013.
According to the Austrian Ministry of Health, in 2012, 24% of schoolchildren from 7-14 years of age are overweight and obese, which has drastically increased by 6% since the 2008 report. In Switzerland, 17% of children and young adults are overweight and 4% of these are obese.
Hygiene is an important part of health. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland all have given their entire populations easy access to sanitation. Medical doctors are part of a healthy lifestyle, which is why we included this statistic in our research. All three of these countries have between 3.9 (Germany) and 4.9 (Austria) doctors per capita. The human body is made 68% of water- which is the reason that drinking water is a key component of health. According the the World Health Organization, this entire region has universal access to water.
Please view the statistics below on each country:
- Life expectancy: 80.32 (years) average – male 78.04 female 82.72.
- Doctors per 1000 population: 3.7
- Access to drinking water: more than 99%
- Access to sanitation: 100%
- Percentage of population obese: 23%
- Average BMI: 27.1 average- Male 28.0 Female 26.2
- Calories Available Daily: 3,530
- Fattest Nations Ranking: 43
- Percentage of Country Overweight and Obese: 60.1%
- A 2007 study shows Germany has the highest number of overweight people in Europe.
- Life expectancy: 80 years average- male 77.1 female 83.1
- Doctors per 1000 population: 4.9 Access to drink water: more than 99%
- Access to sanitation: 100%
- Percentage of population obese: 11%
- Average BMI: 26.4 average- Male 26.7 Female 26.1
- Calories Available Daily: 3,760 (ranked #2 worldwide)
- Fattest Nations Ranking: 52
- Percentage of Country Overweight and Obese: 57.1%
- Number of People Overweight and Obese: 900,000
- Life expectancy: 82.3 years average- male 80 female 84.71
- Doctors per 1000 population: 4.1
- Drinking water: more than 99%
- Access to sanitation: 100%
- Percentage of population obese: 8%
- Average BMI: 26.0 average- Male 25.8 Female 26.2
- Calories Available Daily: 3,420
- Fattest Nations Ranking: 63
- Percentage of Country Overweight and Obese: 51.4%
Here are my 10 Tips to Fighting the Obesity Epidemic:
- Education: Education is the most important aspect to changing your life. Knowledge is the ultimate power when it comes to healthy lifestyle because it helps people in making healthy decisions and empowers them to take control of their lives.
- Balance: A major component to healthy lifestyle is balance. Knowing that happiness is good for your health*y*, getting a healthy support system and friends, and indulging occasionally.
- Physical Activity: The best way to burn calories and fat! It doesn’t have to be a crazy workout routine that is intimidating, it is best to start with walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Just start moving a bit more during the day.
- Healthy Nutrition: What we put in our bodies as fuel is fundamental to being healthy. Start by cutting out sodas, drinking more, water, adding more fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet.
- Positive Attitude/ Motivation and Accountability: There are days it is going to be frustrating to switch to healthy lifestyle- which is why positive attitude is so important. Realize that you are human, and keep yourself motivated to stay on this amazing, healthy path. Accountability is also very important- knowing that ultimately you are in charge of what you put in your body and how you use it. Accountability will keep you motivated.
- Family Unit: As a family, you can all keep each other on path and motivate each other through the tough days. The family unit is very strong, and can be your best support system- and you can also motivate your family to be healthy with you!
- Media Support: The media needs to start promoting real healthy lifestyle programs instead of quick weight-loss programs that do not work long term.
- Government Support: The government needs to promote more activities for our children, and make being a active a priority in our lives. Healthier citizens would put less strain on their countries economies.
- Vision: There need to be a healthy, natural, balanced vision that influences people’s ideals of health and fitness. Finding a vision that positively influences the health industry long-term.
- Global Consciousness: The world needs a switch in consciousness in order to positively influence global health. Each country has it’s various health issues, but every year, much of the world sees increases in the obesity rate of their country. Obesity is a modern day illness that is both avoidable and treatable with healthy lifestyle.