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Ugeskr Laeger. 2001 May 21;163(21):2941-5.

[The significance of diet and physical activity for the development of obesity in Denmark from 1985 to 1995].

[Article in Danish]

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Institut for Fødevareundersøgelser og Ernaering, Søborg.



Trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Denmark were compared to changes in diet and physical activity by using data from the nationwide dietary surveys of 1985 and 1995 comprising 2,000 adults, aged 15-80 years.


The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased by more than 20% in men (1985: 35.7% vs 1995: 44.1%) and women (1985: 22.3% vs 1995: 29.4%). The prevalence of obesity rose especially in men from 1985 (5.0%) to 1995 (8.8%), less dramatically in women (1985: 5.3% vs 1995: 6.6%). A decrease of 20% and 5% in energy intake has been registered, respectively in men and women. At the same time, sedentary work increased considerably from 1995 (19.5%) to 1985 (38.2%), whereas leisure time physical activity was higher than before.


The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is probably explained by a decrease in the total energy expenditure, owing to the fact that sedentary work has doubled. Hence, a rise in the level of leisure time physical activity did not compensate for the lower expenditure of energy during working hours.

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