Overweight is no longer just a subject for glossy magazines, but a spread diseases. Even the United Nations  has published a report on who, where and why suffer obesity. Thus, the report provides for index of prevalence of obesity for every nation. About 12 percent of the world's total population is obese, according to the U.N. report.

The world's fattest nation overall is Nauru, a South Pacific island where a staggering 71.1 percent of its 10,000 inhabitants are obese. Kuwait has the highest proportion of obese adults in the GCC, with 42.8 per cent falling into this bracket in 2008, followed by Saudi Arabia at 35.2 per cent.

Moreover, according to the report, among densely peopled countries the United States is no longer the world's fattest developed nation, Mexico is. Nearly a third of Mexican adults (32.8 percent) are considered obese. That edges out the United States with its 31.8 percent.

Syria at 31.6 percent, is the third fattest among developed countries, while Venezuela and Libya are tied for fourth at 30.8 percent.

As for Europe average, 21% of its population suffer obesity, and in Eastern Europe the index is couple percents bigger than in the rest of Europe. The least obese population lives in Denmark, Sweden, France and Switzerland.

As for Ukraine, the prevalence of obesity makes about 20%. We are slimmer than Mexicans and Americans, and even  than Russians (24.9%) and Byelorussians (23.4%). However, 20% is still a serious number.

ForUm has asked experts on risks of obesity and the problem in general (if there is any):

Oksana Hryshchenko, chief of pediatric department of "Ohmatdet" national children's hospital:

- Obesity of Ukrainian children can be link to potato couch lifestyle. Our Slavic approach - feeding above all - is wrong. Parents should pay more attention to the quality of food, not its quantity. Moreover, children should also drink a lot and drink in right time. Adults should focus on nutritious elements a body must receive, not on what there is in the fridge. In summer it is better to give children light food, like fruits, vegetables, lean meat. If a child does not want to finish his plate, do not force him. Child's organism knows what to do. Don't worry, when your child starts growing, he will eat everything and much.

Vladislav Slastin, nutritionist, expert on healthy nutrition, fitness-nutrition adviser:

- I don't know anything about obesity statistics being held in Ukraine. The fact is that obesity is a non-infectious disease, and nobody traces data and indices. In the EU countries, for example, such statistics is updated every three years, which allows to analyze the situation.

However, we have the statistics of cardiovascular diseases, according to which Ukraine makes the top three. It is important because heart diseases, vessels problems, hypertension, as well as diabetes, are diseases associated with obesity. 

Among reasons more and more Ukrainians suffer obesity are malnutrition and deficit of physical exercises. Moreover, many Ukrainians abuse smoking and drinking, which is also no good for health. There is also a factor of poor promotion of healthy life style. in Belarus, for example, there is a lot of social advertising, promoting sport, healthy lifestyle, etc., while in Ukraine all we see is beer advertising.

The problem of obesity also lies within families. Our children grow on chips, fried food and sweets and have no idea what is useful and what is not. Culture of proper nutrition must be established from early age.

Oleksiy Babich, family doctor:

- Obesity problem includes eating habits, mentality and availability of products. The richer the nation, the more available high-quality products. The population eats more protein, lean meat and less carbs and fats. Comparing to Mexico and US, Ukraine is doing not that bad, though 20% of obese people is still too much. We speak about potential disabled, risks of strokes, heart attacks and diabetes.

Our country is not rich, and people eat what they can afford. Moreover, eating habits of some families are pretty heavy. No surprise that if mother and father are obese, their child will be also obese even before reaching the full age.

Nelly Verkhovska, psychologist:

- Overeating is a way to receive pleasure as  a compensation of stress in other sphere of life. Another theory says that overeating is a way to make oneself bigger, as a counterbalance to the feeling of being invisible. It may be connected to our nation. For centuries Ukraine has been invisible to the world. of course, people do not realize such processes consciously, but may follow them subconsciously.

Moreover,  in USSR republics food was considered as an attribute of richness and welfare. Food products are in abundance now, and some people eat them to feel "richer".

Eating is the simplest and most available way to please oneself. What should people do in this situation? To find out what lacks in their life and solve the problem.

Vasyl Lazorishynets, cardiovascular surgeon, professor and member of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, former healthcare minister of Ukraine:

- Even 20% of obese population is a problem for the country. Cardiovascular diseases are common in Ukraine, and obesity does affect the heart. Everybody should finally realize it and do not push themselves into obesity.

Oleh Shvets, free lance nutritionist of the Healthcare Ministry of Ukraine, director of the State research center for nutrition hygiene:

- The problem indeed exists. According to my information, 26% of women and 16% of men suffer obesity, and half of adult population is overweight. Statements that obesity is caused by overeating and potato couching are not the full answer to question. These reasons  are basic. But we also should take into account the food industry.  

Various global organizations study the issue, and it is believed that marketing methods, formulation of food products also lead to obesity. First of all, various marketing methods make people eat more than their body needs. Secondly, technologically processed foods and drinks contain many useless and sometimes poisonous for body matters, like sugar, salt, fats. As a result, people become obese.


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