When we were in Gothenburg for a long weekend, except for a few obese men in the beer cellar, already scoffing beer mid-morning, and a scattering of overweight women, we didn’t see any other grossly obese men or women the first four days. Most people were trim, rather than thin, but even a bit of plumpness was uncommon.
Then, on day 5, as we sat drinking coffee in an outdoor café, a family of an obese woman and her overweight children, well on the way to obesity, passed by. It was Monday and there were more people out and about than previously. A scattering of obese men and women then strolled past – none of the size portrayed in Ilu Susiraja’s selfies.
Back in London, our first morning back, two obese women were queuing at the bus stop and then, as I made my way to Sainsbury’s, obese men and women were common.
According to the latest (2013) avalable data International Obesity , only 12.9% of Swedish people are obese, while here in England the figure is 24.8% (Scotland 27.7%, Northern Ireland 23%, Wales 22%). In the USA, heading the Obesity league table after the Pacific Islands and Kuwait, the Obesity Prevalence is 35.9%. Japan has the lowest figure for obesity at 3.5%.
Obesity is multifactorial but the abundance of cookshops we saw in Gothenburg (and in Stockholm) attests to the Swedes’ interest in home cooking as opposed to living on takeaways.
This must be a significant factor in their enviable place at 26th on the 2013 Obesity League table which shows England at 7th place and USA in first place, a clear winner – or loser!