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Public Health Nutr. 1999 Mar;2(1A):135-41.

Recent body-weight changes and weight loss practices in the European Union.

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General Hospital Psychiatry, Tampere University Hospital, and Finnish Institute for Behavioural Science.



The aim of this paper is to describe recent weight changes and weight loss practices in the EU, and in particular to describe the group of subjects who were in a recent state of weight gain.


Overall, 15,239 adults aged 15 years and upwards composed of 1000 from each EU member state were selected to complete the interview-assisted face-to-face questionnaire. In each member state, sample selection was quota-controlled to ensure national representativeness.


This survey points to a fairly alarming tendency of more normal weight, overweight or obese European people being in a state of weight gain rather than weight loss. But it is also worrying that almost a fifth of underweight people are in the process of losing more weight. The recommendations for interventions to promote weight loss might be somewhat different between countries in the EU as the common weight loss practices differ between such countries. Overall, a campaign alone may not be effective in encouraging people to do more physical activity in Europe. Additional methods should be found. Furthermore, a combination of diet and exercise as a method of weight control is underestimated or undervalued by the general population who are either overweight or obese.

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