By Livia Cockerell
PM Pedro Sanchez has announced an eight year plan to reduce childhood obesity after studies show that 40% of children in Spain are overweight.
According to the Prime Minister, levels of infant obesity in Spain have doubled in the past 20 years. Worsening levels of social inequality as a result of the financial crisis, Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine are believed to be partly responsible.
A recent ALADINO study showed that 47.3% of those on a salary of less than €18,000 are overweight, whereas the corresponding statistic for those earning more than €30,000 is 33.7%.
The government’s strategy not only plans to reduce levels of infant excess weight by 25%, but also to reduce the social inequality gap associated with this by 40%.
According to a study carried out by the Spanish Society of Obesity (Seedo), the rise in the number of people considered obese is ‘alarming’ with the pandemic blamed for worsening the problem.
The data shows that 53.8 % of people asked have problems with their weight, with 36.3% classified as overweight and another 17.2% considered obese.
Weight problems afflict more over 65s with a weighty 66% categorised as overweight.
Thie study also revealed how little physical exercise is carried out among the population with 40% admitting they do no exercise at all.
The Covid pandemic has increased the number of people with weight problems according to the Spanish Society of Obesity.
The rise is blamed in part on Covid restrictions. Even after Spain experienced the strictest lockdown in Europe when everyone was confined to their homes, sports centres remained closed for another four months. And after they reopened many people were put off from going because face masks were still compulsory at gyms.
A previous survey by Seedo revealed that 44% of Spaniards had gained weight during the quarantine in 2020.
The latest survey also showed that more women than men wanted to lose weight, with more than half of those asked admitting to dieting in the previous six months.